Tag: Winter

Ice Melt Damaging Plants

There are five main materials that are used as chemical de-icers: calcium chloride, sodium chloride (table salt), potassium chloride, urea, and calcium magnesium acetate.

Calcium chloride is the traditional ice-melting product. Though it will melt ice to about -25 degrees F, it will form slippery, slimy surfaces on concrete and other hard surfaces. Plants are not likely to be harmed unless excessive amounts are used.

Rock salt is sodium chloride and is the least expensive material available. It is effective to approximately 12 degrees F, but can damage soils, plants and metals. Potassium chloride can also cause serious plant injury when washed or splashed on foliage. Both calcium chloride and potassium chloride can damage roots of plants.

Urea (carbonyl diamide) is a fertilizer that is sometimes used to melt ice. Though it is only about 10% as corrosive as sodium chloride, it can contaminate ground and surface water with nitrates. Urea is effective to about 21 degrees F.

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), a newer product, is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the principal compound of vinegar). CMA works differently than the other materials in that it does not form a brine-like salt but rather helps prevent snow particles from sticking to each other or the road surface. It has little effect on plant growth or concrete surfaces.

Limited use of any of these products should cause little injury. Problems accumulate when they are used excessively and there is not adequate rainfall to wash or leach the material from the area. Since limited use is recommended it is best to remove the ice and snow by hand when possible. When they are applied, practice moderation. Resist the temptation to over apply just to make sure the ice and snow melts. Keep in mind this can damage concrete surfaces as well as the plants and grass growing along the walks and driveways. These problems are normally latent and do not show up until spring or summer.

By: Cassie Homan

Protecting Your Plants from Winter Hazards

We have been lucky this year with beautiful fall days and above normal temperatures. However, the forecast for the next few weeks shows temperatures dropping and we could possibly be facing snow or ice.

When picking an ice melt it is important to know what you are applying, because they are not created equally.

To learn more about the most common ice melts visit:


By: Cassie Homan

Safe Winter Driving

Safe drivers know the weather and their limits. Follow these safe driving tips when hazardous weather is in the forecast.

Find out about driving conditions before you go. Be aware of the latest weather conditions by visiting kandrive.org. Call 5-1-1 from anywhere in Kansas or 1-866-511-KDOT (5368) from anywhere in the US. You can also visit 511 Mobile, http://511mm.ksdot.org, using your mobile device.

Make sure you can see and be seen. Turn signals, brake lights and windows need to be clear of snow. Check your vehicle’s tires, wiper blades, fluids, lights, belts, and hoses. A breakdown is bad on a good day and dangerous on a bad weather day.

Leave plenty of time to reach your destination safely. It’s not worth putting yourself and others in a dangerous situation just to be on time.

Buckle up. Secure children (and adults) in appropriate seat belts, boosters and car seats. Don’t strap into your car while wearing bulky winter clothing as it can affect the ability for seat belts and car seats to do their job.

Slow down for wet, snowy and icy conditions. Avoid quick braking or acceleration. Slow down and watch for black ice when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, or shady spots. You should never use cruise control in winter weather conditions.

Stay attentive to your driving and avoid distractions. Don’t talk on your cell phone or use your mobile device (calling, texting, emailing, etc.) while driving.

Allow additional room between your vehicle and others. Be patient. Watch for sudden stops or turns. Don’t take chances when pulling out in front of approaching vehicles. It takes longer to stop and accelerate in bad weather.

Overall, If the weather is bad, remember Ice and Snow…Take It Slow, or just don’t go.

Find more about safe winter driving here.

By:  Ashley Svaty