Rock Salt Effects On Your Community
Protect you and your loved ones.
How does rock salt effect your pets?
How does rock salt effect the environment?
Rock salt affects plants and trees by removing moisture which the plants and trees need to live. Only a few grains of rock salt can kill a plant. Once rock salt enters the soil, it will stay there for a few years (Munroe, Shala). The salt raises the soils salinity, which stops the plants from getting nutrients which is what they need to survive. Other than salt being placed in the soil to kill it, the salt ends up in plants and near trees because cars push it there. The salt is placed on roads and then moved into the plants by the water that is left by snow(Munroe, Shala).
The salt can kill the plant in different ways. The salt can increase the water stress by holding the water molecules together, since the salt is holding all the water, none is left for the roots to absorb which decreases the growth (Gould, Ann). The salt also has an effect on the soil. The sodium in the salt attaches to soil and displaces elements like potassium and phosphorous. Soil density and compaction increases and drainage is reduced. With these conditions, plant growth is poor (Gould, Ann).
The rock salt affects the minerals nutrition. Concentration of sodium and chloride components of salt are excessive which makes the plants absorb these ions instead of the phosphorous and potassium ions that the plants are supposed to absorb. The plants suffer from potassium and phosphorous deficiency (Gould, Ann). The salt can also affect plants by raising its toxic level. The chloride component of salt is absorbed by roots which makes it concentrated in an actively growing tissue (Gould, Ann). If plants are exposed to salt for long periods of time, it can cause a leaf burn and a twig die-back (Gould, Ann).
Salt can get into trees in two ways, through airborne salt spray or through the soil. Salt spray enters through leave scars and can kill the dominant bud (Manufacturing Corp). When the salt dissolves, it it separates into sodium and chloride ions which damage the tree. The chloride ions are pulled up through the root and enter the sap, concentrate in the shoots and prevent buds from opening (Manufacturing Corp). The ions can then be moved to growing leaf margins causing leaf scorch, curling or death (Manufacturing Corp).
How does rock salt effect concrete?
Concrete can be weakened by rock salt. Concrete is at its strongest when is is compressed or squeezed. One of concrete’s weaknesses is when it is pulled or expanded. Concrete can absorb water somewhat like a sponge so when the rock salt melts ice and snow on a sidewalk or driveway the melted snow will be absorbed into the concrete (Parmer, Joey). Just water being absorbed into the concrete alone makes the concrete softer. If the temperature drops again after the water is absorbed, the concrete will freeze along with the rock salt. This will cause the concrete to explode or crack which damages the sidewalk and then would have to be redone. Damages like these are more common with freshly poured concrete. To prevent damages you should make sure your concrete is cured before winter(Amorosi, Andrew). Also, when you use rock salt you should be careful that the snow melted by the rock salt won't re-freeze. In a blog about de-icing roads by Russell McLendon she explains that there are not that many cases of ruined concrete that affected the environment or people. It is more important to have de-iced roads so cars don’t slide than it is to have a few cracks in some sidewalks(McLendon, Russell). In conclusion it is not common for concrete to be ruined by rock salt.
Amorosi, Andrew. "Preventing Damage from Ice and Snow." The Cooperator. The Cooperator, Oct. 2009. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Andrew Levy for the Daily Mail. "Hundreds of Dogs and Cats Die from Rock Salt Scattered by Gritters in Big Freeze." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 23 Dec. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Gaia Enterprises, Inc. "7 Harmful Effects Of Calcium Chloride Ice Melter Known As Rock Salt |." Safe Paw. GAIA Enterprises, Inc., 8 Jan. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Gould, Ann. "Impact of Road Salt on Adjacent Vegetation." Plant Pest Advisory. Rutgers University, 20 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Manufacturing Corp., XYNYTH. "Yates County Master Gardeners." How Salt Damages Trees. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
McLendon, Russell. "De-icing Dilemma." MNN. Mother Nature Network, 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
Munroe, Shala. "The Rock Salt Concentration Needed to Kill Plants." Home Guides. Home Guides, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.
[the Nest]. "What Are the Dangers of Using Rock Salt Around Cats?" Pets. N.p., 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
Parmer, Joey. Personal Interview. 2015 March 13.