Wednesday, April 6, 2011
It’s that time of year when snow and ice are coming or they are already here. How will the various snow and ice melt products available on the market affect your lawn? The most important thing to remember; it is better to be safe and avoid any injury than worry about the lawn; it can be replaced if necessary!
The following is a list of the most common snow and ice melt products: rock salt (sodium chloride), potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride and urea. Chlorides can be harmful to plants and grass if they are applied too heavily. The damage occurs to plants and lawn areas when the salt content is too concentrated for the plant to absorb. The salt content essentially ‘dries out’ the plant causing it to die. You can water heavily to attempt to neutralize salt damage. Of course it’s the amount of ice melt applied over time, which will determine if the lawn lives or dies.
Ironically many of the ice melters, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride and urea are also commonly used as fertilizer ingredients. This does not mean that they are okay when they get applied to the edge of your lawn or in landscape plantings if they are piled up to extremes. Sometimes you will notice the lawn at the edges of your driveway and walks is green in the early spring. This is due to the light applications of these ‘fertilizer’ type ice melters over the winter months. Repeated applications over a particularly harsh winter usually shows some sign of yellowing or dead turf grass.
Jonathan Green Melt-A-Way is a premium ice melter that is less corrosive to metal and melts ice at a very low temperature. It acts like tap water on metal and has a reduced freeze-thaw cycle. This helps to reduce the amount of concrete damage also. The damage is done through the alternating thawing and freezing process. The water from the snow and ice that melts refreezes causing the cracking of the surface materials. This is especially true of pressed and poured concrete, walkways and patios. Do not apply ice melters to newly formed concrete that is under 1 year old, preferable two years old.
If your town applies large amounts of rock salt to the roads and then plows the snow unto your lawn over the winter months you can also experience some severe yellowing or dead grass. These areas may need to be seeded in the spring. Jonathan Green recommends using their Black Beauty Ultra Mixture in the spring. An application of gypsum to these ‘salted’ areas can also be helpful to neutralize the salt damage.
It is likely that over a period of years you will experience some turf grass damage from snow and ice melt applications. You can use an old farmers trick called ‘frost’ seeding to rejuvenate your lawn. Apply Jonathan Green grass seed after you have raked out the dead grass to these damaged areas. The snow cover and freezing and thawing of the ground works the grass seed down into the nooks and crannies of the soil. The seed will not germinate if it is too cold but will grow as soon as it gets warm enough getting you a jump on your lawn repair. This frost or snow seeding can be quite successful to any areas of your lawn that need repair over the winter months. Applying Jonathan Green grass seed directly over the snow helps to work the seed into the soil for the spring season. Why not try this method, just don’t let your neighbors see you out on your lawn in the middle of the winter in the snow during the Super Bowl applying grass seed!
The main thing to remember is safety. Be sure that you do not compromise your snow and ice melt applications in order to save your turf grass.Back