Will Rock Salt Kill Grass?

Ever wonder if rock salt will kill your grass? The chances of your lawn dying are higher than you think.

Lawns carry lots of memories. That lawn you care for all summer might be where your kids hang out, where you play fetch with your dog or where your son took his first steps. You mow, water and fertilize your lawn all summer to keep it nice and healthy. But come wintertime, that routine is flipped because of the way you melt snow and ice.

During snowy months, many of you will opt for rock salt to melt snowy and icy driveways, walkways and patios. But what you may not realize is that you are doing your lawn a major disservice. Because of rock salt (sodium chloride), your grass is suffering from immense dehydration and toxification.

To put it frankly, yes, rock salt can kill your grass. So unless you’re in the hay-making business, put down the rock salt unless you want bundles of dried-out grass at your doorstep crying out for better days once springtime rolls around.

How does rock salt kill grass?

Think of grass the same way you would think of hair. It needs to be hydrated, have nutrients and needs a trim every once and a while. What hair doesn’t need is a bombardment of salt every couple weeks. 

So what is the problem with salt?

Extreme dehydration

Have you ever eaten an entire bag of potato chips and woken up the next morning with swollen fingers? Even regular table salt can dehydrate you and cause inflammation. So just imagine how your grass feels once exposed to high quantities of sodium chloride (rock salt).

The dehydrating effect of rock salt will dehydrate ice just as easily as it will dehydrate your grass. When rock salt comes into contact with plants, they become brittle and begins to wilt and die. Why would you want that after all the hard work you’ve put into creating your perfect landscape?

High soil toxicity

When large quantities of rock salt come into contact with soil, it can create a permanent toxic environment in which new plants and grasses will be unable to grow without becoming dehydrated and dying in their early stages. 

Having high-saline soil won’t just kill off existing vegetation, it will make it extremely difficult to properly grow any vegetation in the future. 

What can I use instead?

Instead of reaching for rock salt and leaving a grass crime scene behind as your lawn cries in agony, use something gentler and safer for vegetation. Calcium chloride ice melt pellets are much safer for vegetation and will not cause grass or plants to die. Magnesium chloride ice melt pellets are also a safer alternative for melting ice because like calcium chloride, they will not kill off plants or cause toxicity in soil. Magnesium chloride is also a safer option for pet owners, as it won’t irritate paws or cause tummy aches in animals.

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