Don’t Let Ice Ruin Your Lawn

Ice covering sidewalk and parking lotWinter has already landed a few punches, dropping ice and snow across the country. As we try to dig out from under snow, we will repeatedly run in to the problem of ice forming and covering decks, driveways, and walkways. Clearing this ice is important, but you must be cautious in order to keep the process of clearing ice from damaging your lawn.

Keep Snow Blowers off of the Lawn

Snow blowers use augers to move the snow to the chute, but these augers do not discriminate between snow and your lawn. Running a snow blower across your lawn will chop up the lawn, pull up grass and dirt, and generally wreck everything you’ve worked hard for across the rest of the year.

Natural is Always Best

Removing ice by hand is always the best method. Shovels, pry bars, picks, hammers, and other implements can be used to chop and beat the ice, breaking it up and making it easy to scoop up and move.

Check the Chemical Compounds in your Ice Melt

A variety of chemical compounds can be used to break up ice and make it easy to clear, but many of these compounds can be detrimental to your lawn and garden. Certain compounds are worse than others – here is a breakdown of the compounds, good and bad, most often used:

  • Calcium Chloride – This is the traditional ice melt product, but its effectiveness is mitigated by the fact that it is dangerous to vegetation and animals, can leave a residue over time, and is corrosive to metals.
  • Sodium Chloride – Also known as rock salt, it’s the cheapest of the compounds and still provides good melting ability. It can damage vegetation, and also is mildly corrosive.
  • Potassium  or Magnesium Chloride – The safest of the chloride family of compounds, these can still be harmful when over-applied. They tend to be more expensive than traditional melters.
  • Urea or calcium magnesium acetate – Both of these compounds are relatively harmless to plants, but are also very particular, not able to work under 15 degrees or so. They are generally best for preventing refreezing instead of melting hard ice.

There are also proprietary products such as Safe Paw, which is very expensive but is also incredibly safe for lawns, gardens, animals, and children.

Apply Ice Melt Sparingly

Regardless of the ice melt you use, only use as much as is necessary. Over-application of any compound is wasteful and can create issues with your lawn later. Apply the melt as far away from vegetation as possible while still being thorough.

Keep and Eye on Drainage

When the ice melts, the water has to run off somewhere. Make sure it runs off and doesn’t just pool, as standing water will over-saturate your lawn in spots, and if you are using one of the chloride-based ice melts, this will concentrate the compound in one spot, killing off the vegetation.

About AndrewT

Written by Andrew T for LawnEq - The specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable brands.