Using salt to de-ice sidewalks and roads is essential for winter maintenance. While this keeps people safe from slipping and falling, it can take a toll on your trees and other plants. Generally, trees will recover after the winter season as long as you keep them healthy throughout the rest of the year. However, there are a few things that the certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care would like you to know about reducing winter salt damage to your trees.
How Does Salt Hurts Trees
Signs of salt damage come in the form of tree discoloration. This type of damage will show in a tree’s foliage and those with needles. While the discoloration resulting from salt damage can affect the aesthetic beauty of your trees, it’s doesn’t necessarily cause too many problems.
However, when salt leaches down into the soil, it will hurt the root system of a tree. As ice and snow melt, the salt will leach into the ground, causing salt levels to rise. This interferes with natural minerals and the necessary nutrients that a tree needs to thrive. It also makes it tougher for a tree to get the water that it needs. While you may not see any problems due to salt damage right away, you will start to see signs in the spring and summer months.
Salt Damaged Trees Require Water
On warm days during the winter, it’s important to water your trees and remove as much salt as you can from the surface of the soil around them. This will help prevent some of the damage. How? Salt acts slowly, and you can mitigate a lot of the damage if you can quickly clean it up. However, it’s essential to wait until the temperature outside is above freezing, or you could end up causing more problems than you already have.
Use A Less Harsh De-Icer
If you use salt to de-ice your sidewalk or driveway, you can prevent damage by purchasing a less harsh de-icer. Road salt comes in a variety of forms, and while the type that most cities use is harmful to plants, you can use something less damaging. While it may cost you a little more, a less harsh de-icer will save you in tree care services later on.
Calcium chloride is one such option. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t harm your trees or plants. That’s why it’s important to take additional steps to keep vegetation safe. You also don’t want to over-apply because the product will eventually seep into the soil, which can cause problems later on. To reduce this risk, you can mix the solution with sand or sawdust, which will keep the products above ground and reduce the amount you need to use while adding additional traction.
Another thing you can do is to plant salt-tolerant trees. Salt-tolerant trees like Pin Oaks, White Oaks, Red Oaks, Sunburst Honey Locusts, and Eastern Red Cedar’s are ideal for locations near sidewalks and roadways. However, it’s important to do your research for the best options available in your area and how much they will need to be taken care of as they grow.
Keep An Eye Out For Additional Problems
Trees require additional care aside from reducing salt damage. They are an important part of your home and property and deserve to be treated as such. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on them after any big storms or weather events. If you think your trees are suffering from anything from salt damage to infestations or any other problem, it’s essential to consult with the certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care. We can help you assess the situation and suggest treatment plans to help keep your trees healthy and beautiful.
Olympia Tree Care
If you suspect a problem with the trees on your property, contact Westcoast Tree Care by filling out our online form or give us a call at 1.800.767.8733 today. We can set up a time to walk your property and provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation quote for any of our Olympia tree care services.