Safest Ice Melt for your Lawn and Garden: And How To Use Winter Melts Properly

Safest Ice Melt for your Lawn and Garden: And How To Use Winter Melts Properly

Safest Ice Melt for your Lawn and Garden: And How To Use Winter Melts Properly

If you have invested a lot into your lawn or garden, the last thing you want is to cause damage to it!

And one surefire way to damage or even kill your plants is by using the wrong ice melt.

It's true, ice melts can be INCREDIBLY damaging to your lawn and garden. 

So which lice melt is safest for your lawn and garden?

More importantly, how do you use ice melt properly without damaging your vegetation?

Today, let's take a deep dive into how ice melts work and see which one is safest for your lawn.

Snowy grass that needs GreenPal snow removal service

In short: Which ice melt is best safest from my lawn and garden?

Overall the best ice melt for your vegetation is going to be a calcium chloride-based ice melt

However, magnesium chloride is also a good option when applied correctly

Remember you MUST apply it properly, or you still run the risk of damaging your lawn, or even the plants in your garden. 

Keep reading to learn how to apply an ice melt in a plant-safe way. 

Why are some ice melts harmful to plants?

Some ice melts, especially chloride-based salts can be harmful to your plants and your lush beautiful lawn.

The most common ice melt is rock salt or sodium chloride is the most common ice melt product, and it works well to melt ice to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. But it is actually pretty harmful to plants and your lawn. 

Additionally, it can also be corrosive to concrete and flagstones, so it is best to avoid this type of ice melt when possible.

As a salt, it can cause a plant to become dehydrated. This happens during the natural process of the plant taking in its nutrients from the soil.

You see, as a plant absorbs the salt, it spreads throughout the entire plant. As this happens, it will begin to pull moisture from the plant. Eventually, this can lead to a damaged plant, or, ultimately, a dead one.

This is especially problematic in the colder months when evergreen plants are already at a higher risk of 'wilting' a natural process that causes plants to dehydrate in the winter months.

Pro Tip! Avoid using salt if you want to preserve your walkways and vegetation

So which ice melt is safest for use around plants?

There are a few good options for ice melts that will be less likely to harm your plants. But keep in mind that proper use is perhaps the most important aspect. 

Overall you want to avoid using any salt-based ice melt; these ice melts may be cheaper but are more likely to cause damage to your plants or even your concrete. 

A few good ice melt options include:

  • Calcium chloride

  • Potassium chloride 

  • Magnesium chloride 

In short, the best option for your lawn and garden is a calcium chloride-based melt. 

If you live in a state like New York, Wisconsin, or Ohio, where you get a lot of snow each year, you will want to keep reading. 

Or hire a snow removal service that will treat your ice for you.

What do snow removal pros look for in an ice melt?

So what do snow removal pros look for when it comes to an ice melt?

Well, we asked them, and this is what they had to say

What do snow removal pros look for in an ice melt?As you can see, none of the snow removal pros we surveyed were concerned about the impact an ice melt may have on your lawn or garden.

On the other hand, 38% of the pros interviewed said that the most important quality in an ice melt was the speed with which it worked. So if you are concerned about the impact salt may have on your lawn, you should consult with your snow removal service. Or seek out a snow removal service that will use a better ice melt alternative. 

The sad reality is, it may cost more if you want to switch things up. Often times snow removal pros will simply buy what is available in bulk in the area. 

How to Avoid Damaging Plants With Ice Melts

Here's the deal, when it comes to protecting your lawn and gardens from damage caused by ice melts. it's not only important to select the right one, but also apply it properly. 

Below are a few tips for using ice melts properly.

Removing snow from a side walk with a plant safe ice melt

Tip #1: Remove Snow Before Applying Ice Melt

Look, ice melt is used for melting ice, not snow.

So one of the best ways to ensure that you use less ice melt is to remove the snow before it settles or freezes.

This will greatly reduce the amount of ice melt you need to use and will help your vegetation stay healthy and green.

Tip #2: Pre-apply Ice Melt before it Snows

Most people don't know this, but if you pre-treat your sidewalk before snow or freezing rain, it will be more effective.

And a good ice melt, like a magnesium chloride-based ice melt, will require less to melt the ice than standard rock salt. And because less of the chemical is required, it will have less of an impact on the environment surrounding the applied areas. 

Tip #3: Flush Your Lawn

In the spring, when the ground thaws, you want to consider 'flushing' your lawn or garden in the areas that may have been exposed to any ice melts you have used.

This will help the salt to settle deeper into the ground, and help it spread throughout the lawn or garden. And voila, when the little bit of ice melt that is still present in the soil is finally absorbed, it will be unlikely to be enough to damage the plant.

You also want to prepare plants for the winter by defending your garden against deer.

Pro-Tip! Wilt-proof can also help keep your plants from severe winter damage that may be caused by ice melts.

Best ice melt for vegitation and plants

Plants that are Susceptible to Damage from Ice Melts

The other half of the equation is being sure that the plants that are near where you apply ice melt are not overly sensitive to ice salt exposure.

Evergreens, in particular, are at risk in the colder months because of the wilting process mentioned earlier.

Pro Tip! Salt-Tolerant Grasses are less likely to be damaged by winter melts. A few salt-tolerant turfs include; perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and tall fescue. Check this out for more lawn care tips.

Why is Rock Salt Harmful to Lawns and Gardens?

Rock salt, or sodium chloride, is harmful to plants and lawns as it can cause dehydration. When plants absorb salt, it pulls moisture from them, potentially leading to damage or death. This is particularly problematic in winter when evergreen plants are already at higher risk of dehydration.

What are the Best Practices for Applying Ice Melt?

To apply ice melt effectively and safely, remove snow before applying, pre-treat sidewalks before snowfall for better efficiency, and consider 'flushing' your lawn in the spring. This approach ensures minimal impact on the environment and your plants.

What is the Safest Ice Melt for Lawns and Gardens?

The safest ice melt for lawns and gardens is calcium chloride-based ice melt. Magnesium chloride is also a viable option when applied correctly. These ice melts are less likely to harm your plants compared to traditional salt-based products.

Ice Melts: Your Lawn and Your Garden

So as you can see, it's not necessarily which ice melt is the best. 

It’s more important that you use the ice melt properly. 

Remember that ice melts are to melt ice, not snow. This is a point that most people miss. 

Overall, the best ice melt for your lawn and garden is calcium chloride. 

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