How Road Salt Impacts Your Landscape (And What To Do About It)

Salt melting snow

At Lane’s Landscaping Supplies, we hear about it every winter:

People always want to know how to keep their walkways and driveways free of snow and ice without harming their landscaping from bulk salt.

This is a particular issue for people who have grass, shrubs or pushes right up against their interlocking pavers. However even the stones themselves are not immune to the effects of road salt.

Fortunately, there are ways to safely and properly use road salt without impacting your landscaping.

Know how road salt works and what it does

Sodium chloride (commonly known as rock salt) is the ice melting product more people are familiar with.

However, over long periods of time, here’s what it can do to a variety of surfaces:

  • Concrete or asphalt stones: By design, road salt is corrosive in nature. Otherwise it wouldn’t work. But eventually, it will stain or discolour your pavers and break down the stone itself.
  • Plants: Simply put, salt is toxic to plants. When the salt is absorbed into the plant soil, it prevents the plant from receiving vital phosphorous and potassium and dries out the roots.
  • Metal: Salt will damage metal surfaces (like cars or patio furniture) and corrode them. When that happens, rust is sure to follow. Unpainted metal surfaces are particularly susceptible.

Since we live in Canada and experience Canadian winters, snow, ice and road salt is a fact of life.

So what can we do about it?

Shoveling walkway

Shovel as much as you can

The idea of shoveling often doesn’t sound too appealing.

But it’s the easiest and quickest way to get rid of snow and ice without first reaching for the road salt.

Even if the snow is still falling, it’s smart to get out there and start shoveling.

Now you may have to go back out to finish, but it’s easier to shovel a few inches at a time vs. a few feet at once.

When you salt, use only what you need

Since bulk salt is tough on multiple surfaces (as well as the snow and ice it’s designed to remove), there’s no need to totally saturate your walkways or driveways with it.

  • Excess salt may not actually reach the paving slab surface; instead it’ll end up on your plants or flowers and damage them
  • Once the necessary amount of bulk salt has done its job, the unnecessary leftovers will simply sit atop your stone surfaces and start to break them down

Here are a few tips to make sure you use the right amount of salt:

  • Use the smallest amount you need and only apply it when necessary
  • Mix your salt with sand to reduce the amount of salt being used
  • A handful of rock salt can get the job done; aim to use one handful per square yard of surface

Sand bin

Use environmentally friendly salt or deicers

There are eco-friendly salt and deicing products on the market today which are just as effective as traditional rock salt.

In fact, we carry such products right here at Lane’s:

  • Treated sand: A mixture of sand and calcium chloride that’s great for de-icing
  • Environmentally friendly ice melters: Compounds which won’t impact groundwater or soil

One thing to know about rock salt is that certain brands are limited by temperature. So if it gets too cold, the product may be ineffective at removing snow and ice.

Of course, it will still keep its potency when damaging your garden or walkways.

Just make sure you do your research and select the salt which best meets your needs.

Come to us for all your bulk salt needs

Homeowners and contractors throughout Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Milton, Burlington and the GTA have come to Lane’s for years to order their salt supplies.

Here’s why:

  • We have a wide selection of salt, sand and deicing products
  • We never run out
  • We’re open 24 hours during snowstorms

Now that you know how salt impacts your landscaping and how to use it properly, it’s time to order your supply today.

Contact us to learn more about our products or to get a FREE quote on the amount and type of salt you need.