This is a reprint from Mark Webber of Webber Landscape and Host of Garden Talk on a local radio station. Mark is known as the Garden Guru and these tips are so timely. We are getting a layer of snow and plummeting temperature are to follow. Thanks to Mark for providing this information.
Ice melters containing potassium chloride and urea tend to have less effect on vegetation as both materials are also fertilizers. However , over application of either can cause salt damage
Ice melt products
Traditionally , Sodium Chloride or “salt” if the traditional rock salt and least expensive ice melter available. Soils and plants can be damaged by high concentrations of sodium chloride. Sodium chloride melts to approximately 12 degrees F
Potassium Chloride - a common fertilizer nutrient that offers more safety to plants than sodium chloride . Compared to salt , this material is not damaging to the soil structure. Potassium Chloride – Potash … melts to approximately 20 degrees F
Urea – Urea is a common fertilizer ( 46-0-0 ) that is also a very good ice melter , that like potassium chloride, is safe for plants . Urea melts effectively to approximately 20degrees F
Magnesium Chloride - Magnesium Chloride is a very hydroscopic salt. An open bag will leave a pool of water if left open. Often used un many ice melt blends , heavy applications can be tracked to indoor surfaces resulting in slippery flooring. Magnesium Chloride melts effectively to approximately -25 degrees F
Calcium Chloride – a by- product of chemical manufacturing process, calcium chloride is a very traditional ice melter product . Very Hygroscopic like magnesium chloride , it forms a slippery , slimy surfaces on concrete and hard flooring. Some people and pets show dermal sensitivity in the form of rashes and “burns”. Calcium Chloride melts effectively to approximately – 25 degrees F