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Use deicing salts with care

November 17, 2020
Evergreen shrubs with brown foliage near a street.
Evergreens are particularly susceptible to deicing salt damage especially when planted close to streets.

Winter weather inevitably brings slippery conditions on streets, driveways, sidewalks and parking lots. Deicing salts are used to prevent ice from forming, saving many of us an embarrassing fall (or worse). Icy surfaces can be hazardous and a liability for business owners, homeowners and municipalities.

However, deicing salts can sometimes be applied improperly, and this can lead to less-than-satisfactory results.

Used incorrectly, these salts can pollute groundwater (the source of drinking water), burn plants, and raise salt levels in the soil. They are also toxic to fish and other aquatic animals. 

The effects of deicing salts on our landscapes by Extension educator, Julie Weisenhorn, provides information on deicing salt damage and pollution and offers guidance for properly maintaining your driveways, walks and street areas to reduce or even eliminate the need for deicing salts just in time for another Minnesota winter.

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