The salt you sprinkle on icy walks and driveways this winter might kill your grass, perennials, shrubs and trees next spring. That's because a diet too high in salt is just as harmful for plants as it is for people.
So how do you cope with the ice? Whenever possible, use sand to improve traction. Keep doormats and boot scrapers by the door so you don't tract the sand indoors. When deicing is necessary, dilute the salt with sand. Start by mixing a half-pound of salt with 20 pounds of sand.
In place of a sodium deicer, choose one of the new, less harmful potassium products such as GroundWorks Natural Icemelter (www.xynyth.com). Although more expensive to buy, it will pay for itself in the long run by saving you the cost of replacement plants.
Don't pile the salt-treated snow on garden beds or near shrubs or trees. As soon as the ground thaws in spring, heavily water areas treated with deicers.