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Easy on the Salt for Deicing
Soil Science Society of America Offers Deicing Advice


The Soil Science Society of America cautions against the use of too much salt on icy surfaces due to the potential long-term impacts it may have on the soil.

This time of the year, most of the country is experiencing snowy and icy weather. The common solution for making icy surfaces safer is the addition of salt, as it lowers the freezing temperature of water and makes it melt faster.

The Soil Science Society of America warns that salt can blow off the pavement or flow away with melted ice and snow, entering the soil system and causing lasting damage.

When salt mixes with soil, it no longer effectively retains plant nutrients. Additionally, salt breaks down soil aggregates, making it more difficult for water and air to move. Salt can also be toxic to some species of plant, and can take years to be washed out from soil, depending on the soil texture and rainfall.

The society offers some alternatives to prevent salt from contaminating soil, including proactive shoveling, using as little salt as possible, wetting deicers before application, or using kitty litter or sand to increase traction and prevent falls.

For more soil-friendly deicing tips and information regarding salt's impact on soil, visit

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February 15, 2019, 2:09 pm PST

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