Ice melt can harm plants, pets and even humans |

Ice melt can harm plants, pets and even humans

Cherie Courtade
Landscape Logic
Icy conditions can be dangerous, but so can your ice melting products. Be sure to use it wisely.
Special to the Daily

Snow and ice can wreak havoc on our sidewalks and pathways. The snow begins to melt as the day warms up, and then freezes in overnight temperatures, leaving you with a very slippery situation. To avoid slips and falls, it makes sense to put down some ice melt.

But responsible use of ice melts is important for people, plants and pets. Misuse can cause its own set of painful problems. Most ice melts include salts and can damage hardscape surfaces, burn paws and even hurt human hands if handled improperly. It can also find its way into nearby lawns or plant beds where it can dehydrate and injure your greenery and pollute runoff.

Follow these guidelines to minimize the potential negative effects of ice melt:

Clear the way: Shovel as much snow as possible from your walks before you put down the product. Ice melt isn’t designed to melt inches of snow, so clear the way before sprinkling it on your property.

Use it sparingly: When the snow and ice are gone, you shouldn’t be left with piles of ice melt. You don’t even need to cover the entire surface with the product. The salts can dissolve in the melting ice and spread out for more coverage than you realize. You may not even need to reapply.

Clean up afterward: Once the moisture has evaporated, sweep up the ice melt and throw it away. Don’t sweep the product onto your lawn or plants, where it can cause injury, or leave it to cause damage to your concrete, wood deck or pavers.

If you’re finding icy areas after every storm, you might evaluate the cause. By making changes to prevent puddles and ice from forming due to drainage issues, you’ll need less ice melt—or none at all.

Cherie Courtade is communication director of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford is a member. Neils Lunceford Inc. can be reached at 970-468-0340 and at http://www.neils