Best practices for using ice melt without ruining your yard

Dec 22, 2023, 2:00 PM

There are many kinds of ice melts available, but they generally come in salt form, with rock salt b...

There are many kinds of ice melts available, but they generally come in salt form, with rock salt being the least expensive form. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY – Now that it’s officially winter, it’s time to start preparing for the snow. One thing that a lot of people use during snowy winters is ice melt, which can impact your yard. Last week on the KSL Greenhouse show, hosts Maria Shilaos and Taun Beddes went over some best practices for using ice melt around your yard.

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There are many kinds of ice melts available, but they generally come in salt form, with rock salt being the least expensive form. However, rock salt is horrible for cement—especially new cement.

“Over a period of a few years you’ll get what’s called cat-facing, where the actual surface layer of the cement starts to powder because of the calcium chloride,” Taun said.

On the other hand, calcium chloride is much safer and does less damage to plants.

“What will happen is when those plants start to break dormancy, the salt in the soil actually attracts water from the plant’s roots into the soil to try to balance the amount of water between the roots and the soil. Because the plants can’t get in, the water goes out. When you see plants scorch and dry down in salty soil, it’s because of chemical drought,” Taun said.

When removing your grass and replacing it with something more drought-hardy, consider using waterwise plants.

“Many of these waterwise plants will tolerate slightly saltier soils with them being native to more arid areas,” Taun said.

You can also find alternatives to ice melts. Some examples Taun gave include sugar beet pulp-based ice melts, ice grits, kitty litter, and shattered cherry pits.

The KSL Greenhouse is on every Saturday from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. You can follow the show on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and on our website.

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Best practices for using ice melt without ruining your yard