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Snow and Ice Management Tips: How to Select an Ice Melt Product

by Matt Hagemann on November 12, 2015
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After a winter storm that starts off with freezing rain and sleet, you pick yourself up off the ground rubbing what hurts wondering, “Why didn’t I get that salt down before the ice got here?”

All it takes is one mishap to make sure you have some ice melt for the next time Mother Nature steers the storm back to Chesterfield, MO. Here are some snow and ice management tips to help you select the best ice melt product for your property.

Be Proactive

One way to ensure that you get the most from your ice melt product is to apply it before the frozen stuff gets on there.  That way, the ice never bonds to the pavement and can be scooped or pushed off easily.

It takes more salt to melt through an accumulation of ice than a lighter early application. What makes it challenging is the lack of reliable snow forecasting.

Choose Wisely

The choice of which ice melt product is best for you depends on a few considerations.

  • Good old sodium chloride, (salt) is the cheapest and has been used the longest. Its effective temperature range is down to about 20 degrees.
  • Magnesium chloride is next in line as far as effective temperatures are concerned. It is effective down to 0 degrees. 
  • Calcium chloride has the coldest working temperature at -25 degrees.

Unfortunately, the price for Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride is usually 10 times the price of salt.

Magnesium chloride is the safest of these products for pets, as long as it’s not ingested.

Apply Carefully

All of these products are injurious to plants, so the best course of action near your plantings is to:

  • Use the minimal amount of product for effective control.
  • Avoid applying the product “off the edges” of your paved surface.
  • Don’t shovel treated snow on top of your landscape shrubs. (This will result in an accumulation of the ice melt product you choose over time).
  • Plantings located on bermed or raised areas will not be as affected by the snowmelt products because the puddling of salty runoff water will stay out at the edges, away from plants.
  • Use a light application of the product in combination with sand, ashes, or cinders.

Dowco provides residential snow removal services for driveway, stoops, and walkways.

Residential Snow Removal

Dowco also provides commercial snow removal services for safety and access to businesses, apartments, condominiums, parking lots, and subdivisions.

Commercial Snow Removal

We look forward to helping you with snow and ice management tips as well as lawn and landscaping tips in the future. Sign up to receive weekly updates from our blog!

Topics: Snow & Ice Management

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