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Salt Can Affect Plant Material Growing Near Roads, Driveways, and Sidewalks

Posted December 27, 2021

While salt assists us in allowing for safe winter travel both by driving and walking, it can cause problems on nearby plant material. Salt injury on plant material can be determined if the severity of the problem is more severe close to sidewalks, driveways, or roads. If you suspect that your plant material has been inured due to salt or salt spray, you may want to consider one or more of the following salt injury prevention tips:

  • Avoid shoveling salt-loaded snow over the root zones of salt-sensitive plants
  • Direct salt run-off away from plants
  • During a warm spell in winter, rinse off plants to eliminate salt before bud break
  • Protect plants from salt spray by placing physical barriers such as burlap or snow fencing around or near plants in fall
  • Plant salt-tolerant species in area that are susceptible to salt spray or sat runoff
  • In early spring, water soil heavily to flush salt out of the plant’s root zone.
  • Consider purchasing a salt alternative for ice control

For more salt injury symptoms and prevention tips as well as a list of salt-tolerant landscape plants, see UW-Extension publication #A3877, Winter Salt Injury and Salt Tolerant Landscape Plants. This publication can be downloaded from the UW-Extension Publications website at http://learningstore.uwex.edu/


Civil Rights Statement: An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements.