With the recent snowfall and temps lingering in the low 20’s, ice can be a real problem for homeowners. Slick driveways and sidewalks can present a hazard and sometimes a shovel or snow blower won’t eliminate the icy patches. In these cases, many homeowners turn to ice-melting products such as rock salt. But before you start spreading the salt, consider the safety of your pets and your lawn.

Yes your lawn is dormant, but excessive salting and use of other harmful chemicals can create issues when your lawn comes back to life the following spring. The best solution is to try to eliminate as much snow and ice with a shovel or snow blower.  If this just isn’t possible, then use caution when throwing down chemical de-icers.

There are several de-icers available to consumers. The cheapest and most common is rock salt. Rock salt is effective to temperatures of 20˚F. It’s not as harmful to concrete as other products but can be damaging to vegetation like grass.

Other chemical de-icers include calcium chloride and potassium chloride, which are more effective at lower temperatures, but are harmful to vegetation too.  There are environmentally safe options which are safe for lawns and pets, but they have their limits and aren’t as effective as the traditional options.

The best advice is to start with a shovel (or snow blower), then apply the environmentally safe options. If any ice remains, treat sparingly with the chemical de-icers listed above, avoiding areas close to the lawn or other vegetation such as trees and shrubs.