We've had a fairly mild winter so far, but snow and cold temps are in the forecast this week. Snow and ice can wreak havoc on sidewalks and pathways. Snowfall can melt as the day warms up, then freeze in overnight temperatures, leaving you with a slippery situation. To avoid slips and falls, it makes sense to put down ice melt.
Responsible use of ice melt is important for people, plants, and pets. Misuse can cause its own set of painful problems. Most ice melts include salts and can damage hardscape surfaces, burn paws, and even hurt human hands if handled improperly. It can also find its way into nearby lawns or plant beds where it can dehydrate and harm your greenery and pollute runoff.
Follow these guidelines to minimize the potential negative effects of ice melt:
Clear the way. Shovel as much snow as possible from your walks before you put down the product. Ice melt isn't designed to melt inches of snow, so clear the way before sprinkling it on your property.
Use it sparingly. If you're left with piles of ice melt after the snow and ice are gone, you're using too much. You don't need to cover the entire surface with the product. The salts can dissolve in the melting ice, spread out, and provide more coverage than you realize. You may not even need to reapply.
Clean up afterward. Once the moisture has evaporated, sweep up the ice melt and throw it away. Don't sweep the product unto your lawn or plants where it can cause injury, or leave it to cause damage to your concrete, wood deck, or pavers.
If you're finding ice areas after every storm, you might evaluate the cause. By making changes to prevent puddles and ice from forming due to drainage issues, you'll need less ice melt - or none at all.
Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (2021, Feb. 26). Tip of the Week: Manage snow/ice safely. https://www.alcc.com/tip-of-the-week-email