If you live where it snows and gets icy in winter, you may be causing harm to your plants if you are putting salt down. Here are some alternatives that may save your soil and plants come Springtime.
Salt kills plants. Many of us throw salt on our driveways, sidewalks, and patios to prevent people from slipping on the ice. We try to encourage the snow and ice to melt more quickly.
Unfortunately, salt kills plants. Come Spring, those plants you looked forward to seeing all winter long might struggle because the soil now has excess salt content.
To avoid killing your plants with salt, here are some more friendly to your soil options to keep the ice and snow off of your concrete and pavement.
As long as you don't overdo its application, ammonium sulfate works great to improve the walkability of your concrete during winter. The real bonus here is that it is Nitrogen, and, as such can work to prep your soil with some fertilizer when Spring comes around. Just be careful not to overdo it, too much of a good thing is too much.
Wood ash is also a good alternative to salt. Wood ash is great because it contains Potassium, Phosphorus, and Calcium, which can all work to amend the soil. Because of the Calcium, wood ash can control the acidity of your soil.
Sand works well to reduce slip by improving traction. It does not have any chemicals that will harm the soil, and it's cheap (you can save money for more plants).
Alfalfa meal is another great fertilizer that can be used to improve traction on snowy, icy sidewalks. It's both a natural choice and works like sand to improve traction.
Most plants love urea (as long as it is not too concentrated -- I'm talking to you, dogs!). Unfortunately, however, urea stops working at about 25 degrees farenheit.