Preventing salt damage - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Preventing salt damage

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- In the aftermath of this ice storm, you've likely found yourself heavily salting your driveway and sidewalks to melt the ice.

But the excess salt could leave a lasting impact on your grass and gardening come springtime.

We spoke with some experts at Sargent's and they say one of the biggest offenders is using the wrong kind of salt.

The rock salt that most of us use to de-ice is rough on plants. Instead they say that you should be using sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate because they won't cause as much damage to plants.

If you've already been using rock salt, you're not alone and you're still okay.

After the frost leaves the ground this spring, you should water any areas exposed to salt to sink it down below the root systems and apply gypsum to neutralize the salt.

"It's not uncommon that [customers will] come in the spring and they'll apply gypsum and that's what we recommend to apply on your lawn along the boulevard where there is a lot of salt damage or along your walkway," said Cathy Hanson, an assist manager at Sargent's.

Even if the salt does kill the grass or your plants, Hanson says these are also steps you will want to take before replanting.

And even if you're cautious about salting, that salt that is applied to the street will still damage your grass. So it's always good to water that area down and apply gypsum to protect it in the spring.

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