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Rock Salt Damage

With winter in full gear, rock salt is a widely used and inexpensive product to melt ice and snow. The public safety benefits of rock salt to motorists driving over ice-covered winter roads, sidewalks and public parking is simply common sense. The downside of using rock salt (halite/sodium chloride) is damage to grass, lawns, flowers and trees – especially those living adjacent to the aforementioned surfaces.
Damage to Landscapes & Structures
Rock salt wreaks so much havoc with living plants because it both hardens the soil and makes it difficult for root growth. A hard soil prevents water from reaching plant roots beneath the surface. This chemical reaction can be truly devastating, especially with consistent applications along driveways and walkways. In addition, the saltiness of rock salt creates a very inhospitable environment for plant roots, especially shallow ones found in grass or perennials.
Rock salt is also corrosive to materials like brick, steel, and concrete.
CMA Ice Melts
The best and easiest way to avoid damage is to use ice melts that contain CMA (calcium magnesium acetate). Ice melts containing CMA are much friendlier to the environment.
Ice melts containing CMA are a great substitute for rock salt because the melting point of ice is much improved, with some going down to twenty below zero versus the teens with rock salt. Although the cost is more per bag, less is required because of the superior melting characteristics and the more uniform, smaller crystals make for improved coverage.
See for more information.
Corrective Measures for your Lawn
If you have used rock salt, one helpful method to reverse or lessen the effects on your lawn would be to apply pelletized lime containing calcium in the spring. A high calcium lime helps reverse the chemical issue in the soil by adding a soil softener agent; calcium.
Before you buy another bag of rock salt, consider a more plant-friendly ice melt like those containing CMA for home use. Your landscape will thank you. Chippers offers ice melt with CMA for delivery by the 50lb bag or pallet in our market area. If interested, please reach out to Mr. Grass at