Plain rock salt is the most commonly used household and municipal ice melter for winter sidewalks and driveways. It occurs naturally. It is plentiful and cheap. The difficulty is that repeated applications of salt lead to a buildup of salt in the soil nearby. Unfortunately, concentrated salt from winter runoff is one of the most toxic environments for plants. To keep your landscape healthy, it is imperative to take precautions against the buildup that causes winter salt damage.
Winter salt damages plants in a few ways. Initially, salt infused road spray coats thin branch tips. In this way, salt makes a direct entry into plant tissue, diminishing cold hardiness and drawing out moisture. Next, the road is plowed and salt laden slush is pushed off of sidewalks and roadways, and into the landscape, including lawns and shrub areas. In the first phase of snow melt, salt drys roots in the same way as it dries branch tips, by simply attracting all the moisture to itself.
Later, as the water-saturated salt dissolves, its chemistry changes. The sodium and chloride ions are separated. Then the chloride ions are absorbed by roots, and from there they travel through the vascular tissue of the plant once it begins active growth. Scorched leaf margins and tip dieback are common problems in established shrubs. Young plants may be killed outright by toxic chloride levels. As for the sodium that was not absorbed, it remains to wreck the soil structure, making it difficult for moisture and gasses to move efficiently through the soil, thus impeding nutrient uptake.
Salt damage is seldom immediate. Rather, the damage progresses as salt levels build in the soil. Symptoms are easily confused with drought stress. Watch for such indicators as premature fall color, twig dieback, leaf margin scorch, browning of conifer needles or stunted growth.
Contact: Daniel Miao
Add: No.5 workshop,126#Yingsheng Road,Suzhou Industrial Park,Suzhou City,Jiangsu Province,China