Salt Damage: Identifying, Repairing and Preventing
In the winter, salt and other de-icers are often used on roads and sidewalks. These harsh chemicals can run off into the surrounding grass, leading to ugly dead spots. Salt damage is easy to identify, as it appears as patches of brown or yellow grass only found in areas that experience salt spray and snow buildup.
Identifying the Damage
To erase the effects of salt on your lawn, the first step is to flush out the grass by giving it a good watering. Spring rain will have the same effect so skip this step if you have been experiencing heavy rains! This will help wash away any salt residue or buildup and will help oxygen get down to the roots.
Repairing the Area
Cut away the dead grass spots with a sturdy shovel, exposing the underlying soil. Amend the existing soil with good quality soil so that your new grass will have plenty of nutrients. At this stage, you have a couple of options…
You could consider seeding the area, although this method takes quite a bit of time and effort to ensure a professional quality lawn. Great results are not always achieved, as seed can be affected by environmental factors such as wind and rain. Seed can be washed away in heavy rains, and makes the area very muddy. This makes sod a more reliable option, as they are not as affected by environmental factors as seed. With sod, you will have those patches covered up in a fraction of the time it takes for seed to grow! For a step-by-step guide to installing sod, click here.
If you need to revive or replace your soil we recommend using BigYellowBag Black Garden Soil, which has the perfect mix of black loam, peat loam, compost and manure. We have calibrated our soil to have the perfect balance of drainage and moisture retention to ensure success. The soil is also packed with essential nutrients and organic matter.
Preventing Future Salt Damage
You can help prevent salt damage by putting burlap around the edges of your lawn or erecting a barrier before the first snow fall. This will protect the lawn from salt and will go by unnoticed as soon as winter sets in! Shovelling early will help to remove fresh snow before it has the chance to be compacted and harden into ice. This will reduce the amount of salt needed. You can also use sand as an alternative to salt. It does not melt the ice but it gives traction and will not harm your lawn!