Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Wende and she’d like to share her passion with her readers. Follow her as she writes about her gardening adventures, lists tasks to do depending on the season, and gives easy to understand gardening advice.
Winter in Wisconsin – of course we need to use salt to melt dangerous ice - but salting can be very damaging to many landscape plants and grasses, so please be careful with how much you salt your walks and driveways. Additionally, we can’t control how much salt is applied in the street that sprays up onto your yards. Here’s some good techniques (from the Steins Gardening Calendar) to help avoid plant damage:
“Apply deicing compounds down the middle of walks and drives, avoiding the grass. Use a deicing compound such as ‘Ice No Mor’ ice melt which contains AMC, the catalyst that ignites ice melting power, and calcium chloride for fast melting action. It is safe for both concrete and surrounding vegetation when used as directed and is even dyed blue for easy application and increased visibility. It works so fast it doesn’t leave a chalky residue to track indoors, which can potentially cause damage to carpets and flooring. Always read and follow label directions.
If using regular deicing salt, shovel before applying it to reduce the amount needed to control ice on walks and drives. It also eliminates salt-laden snow from ending up on the lawn. Note the lawn areas most affected by deicing salts. You will want to water these areas in spring to dilute the salts and wash them through the soil.” http://www.steingg.com/febgardeningcalendar.asp
There are many salt tolerant trees, shrubs and plants that don’t mind the salt. Landscape designers and homeowners should keep these in mind when creating a new landscape plan where there are areas near walkways, sidewalks, roads, or driveways.
Here’s a general list of salt tolerant plants: Trees/Shrubs: Honeylocust, Ginkgo, White Pine, Mugo Pine, Spruces, Forsythia, Summersweet, Barberry, Chokeberry, Rugosa Rose, Privet, Cotoneaster, Butterfly Bush, Lavender. Grasses: Prairie Dropseed, Blue Oat Grass.
Stein’s has a great plant finder tool on their website where you can search for attributes like “salt tolerant”. Check it out at: http://plants.steingg.com/NetPS-Engine.asp?12100001 . The reason why I like it is that it’s really accurate and you can create a plant list that you can print out.