Rock Salt Damage to Trees & Plants

Rock Salt Damage to Trees & Plants

damage-plants  While Road salt is said to be essential to keep our roads safe for traveling during our winter season, their extensive use can become very harmful to trees and plants.  Environment Canada  completed a five year study of the effects of road salt on the environment. One of the cheapest and most commonly used for de-icing roads and pavements is Rock salt, consisting of 98.5% of sodium chloride (NaCl).  The study concluded that rock salt is toxic to the environment, particularly in large concentrations.  Studies show that an average of 1.86 trees per km  of highway in Canada are affected by the toxic chemicals contained in Rock Salt and need to be replaced each year.

damage-plants2The effects of the toxic chemicals can easily be seen on plants and trees exposed to rock salt mists from or near the busy roads or highways (also known as salt spray).  Salt spray can also happen when snow is plowed off of streets and sidewalks and onto trees and shrubs.  On Evergreen trees, the needles show ‘tip-burn’,  as the needles turn yellow, then bronze and subsequently become brown and begin to drop prematurely. As the needles die, the photosynthetic capacity of the tree is curtailed.  Over the years the amount of new growth is reduced, causing the tree to weaken, dieback and perhaps die.  On deciduous trees the salt spray affects the opening of buds and twigs.

damage-plants3When Rock Salt in the soil dissolves, it separates in to Sodium and Chloride Ions.  Chloride Ions are absorbed by the roots and later can be transported to actively growing leafs causing the leaf to scorch, curl and even die.   Sodium Ions are taken through the same chemical route as the necessary tree nutrients, later restricting the uptake of magnesium and potassium, the two essential chemicals for trees and plants.  The roots there for can’t take in water through osmosis and begin to die of thirst.

 With growing awareness on environmental concerns, XYNYTH Manufacturing Corp. continues to strive in providing customers with products that are environmentally friendly.  Having two preferred environmentally friendly products, with potassium being their major component, Mountain Organic Natural™ Icemelter & GroundWorks Natural™ Icemelter benefit the trees and plants as potassium is a major nutrient for them.  While these products are very powerful and effective they are also safe around vegetation, children and pets.  One way to minimize salt injury to our trees and plants is to start thinking green and making better healthier choices with the type of de-icing products we use.

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Beet This!

Beet This!

With theApplying Beet Juice declining supply of road salt and the higher prices, many communities are switching to a more cost efficient, and yet environmentally friendly solution.
Beat juice, apparently, is a very Eco-friendly solution to deicing the dangerous winter road conditions, not to mention cost efficient as well. Although this concept isn’t new, more and more communities are adapting to this method. Road salts, originally thought to be cheap, come with many consequences such as the damage done to wildlife including poison to fish, damage to aquatic wildlife, and harmful to sensitive vegetation. Other detriments include damage to concrete and metals. On the other hand, beet juice can provide an effective performance to temperatures dropping as low as -25ºC or approximately -13ºF.

  1. Adding beet juice to salt brine — even at a 20% concentration — does not increase the salt brine’s ice-melting properties or decrease the temperature at which it is effective.shutterstock111829079
  2. Beet juice reduces the friction of a salt brine solution by 10% – 20%. This translates to slicker roads and more dangerous driving conditions.
  3. 25% beet juice concentration is required to lower salt brine’s corrosion score to meet PNS specifications. However, it will also reduce the brine’s ice melting properties. So when beet juice is used as a corrosion inhibitor, application rates should be increased in direct proportion to the amount of beet juice added. Higher concentrations of beet juice also mean higher costs.

It is important to note that beet juice is not a substitute for road salt, but serve as a complimentary resource. It can reduce the salt usage from 85kg per lane km to just 79 kg per lane km, which can effectively save about $2 per lane km. But even beet juice isn’t completely innocuous. Adding it to water can have an impact says  “Organic matter—anything from leaves to amino acids—anything carbon based that breaks down, needs to consume oxygen,” Oxygen-depleted water can also come at an environmental cost, killing animal and plant life. In one of the most extreme cases of oxygen depletion, known as hypoxia, more than 22,000 square km in the Gulf of Mexico lost much of its commercial fishing industry. The beets, which have a high concentration of sucrose, are grown commercially as a sweetener. However, the sugar must be removed for the juice to be sold as a de-icing agent. “If sugared, you are going to pull animals to the roadway,” “If it is sugared and you store it, it will ferment like beer.”

As the environment is of such importance to many cities, environmental icemelters.  Mountain Organic Natural™ Icemelter is a fertilizer based icemelter that is effective to -23ºC or approximate 9ºF.  It is safe on the vegetation, landscaping, children, pets and the water systems. Also Winter Warrior Runway Control™  is totally Chloride and Urea free which means that it will not damage concrete or metal. As opposed to Beet Juice that you need to mix with salt brine, Mountain Organic Natural™ Icemelter & Winter Warrior Runway Control™  do not require to be mixed with any other product allowing Cities to receive and begin using  the product right away.

Strategies for Dealing with Roof Ice

Strategies for Dealing with Roof Ice

roof iceNo, that is not the sound of reindeer on your roof making an extra stop on their way back to the North Pole.  That creaking sound may be sign your roof has too much weight from snow and ice on it.  We are often asked by customers if our products are safe to use on their roof.  The answer is yes.  Products like Mountain Organic Natural™ Icemelter & GroundWorks Natural™ Icemelter  are both safe to use on most roofs.  Some key points to keep in mind when deciding which product to use are to consider where the melted run off will going.  If the run off will be going into plants & vegetation, concrete, or an area where children or pets are, you will want to use a safe, proven, and effective product such as our GroundWorks Natural™ Icemelter  If sensitive metal is at risk of corrosion, then using a chloride free product like Winter Warrior Runway Control® is an ideal product to use.  For more info on how to apply the product and some important tips, please see this article – ICE DAMS & ROOFS – in the XYNYTH Ice Melt Resource Center.

Which Icemelter to use outside/inside food processing/storage facilities?

Which Icemelter to use outside/inside food processing/storage facilities?

IMG_0752Many people are aware that ice builds up outside food processing/storage facilities but; many people may not be aware that there is build up of ice inside as well.  The ice builds up in doorways, doorframes, shelves and even on freezer floors.    With the ice build up it becomes a slip / fall a hazard for employees moving in and around the area which can cost the owners a great deal of money due to injury.

Companies have limited options of what can be used as the products need to be approved by the food inspection agency.  Many companies turn to rock salt to help with the ice build up.  In the end traditional rock salt is very costly as it is very corrosive to metal.  Companies will have to replace shelving and any metal in and around the door frames.  Also rock salt is toxic if food comes into contact with it.

Our Mountain Organic Natural  Icemelter  which is a fertilizer based icemelter that is used in outside many companies as it is environmentally friendly and does not track into buildings. For use inside food processing/storage facilities and our Winter Warrior Runway Control® that is completely chloride and urea free, it also contains a corrosive inhibitor and is environmentally friendly.  Since food processing/storage facilities can only use food inspection agency approved materials, we have had both our products tested and are approved by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

2014 Long Range Winter Forecast – from the Farmers’ Almanac

U.S. Weather Highlights – Frigid Winter with Bitter Cold and Heavy Snow

A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England. Coldest temperatures will be over the Northern Plains on east into the Great Lakes. Only for the Far West and the Southeast will there be a semblance of winter temperatures averaging close to normal, but only a few areas will enjoy many days where temperatures will average above normal.

 Significant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone.2014-USFA-Winter Over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states,“red-flagging” the first ten days of February for possible heavy winter weather.

 And mid-March could bring a wave of storminess stretching almost from coast to coast, bringing a wide variety of precipitation types as well as strong and gusty winds.

 

 

Canada Weather Highlights – Forecasts a Hodgepodge of Winter Weather

A large area of below-normal temperatures will predominate from roughly east of the Rocky Mountains to the Eastern Great Lakes. Coldest temperatures will run south and east across the Laurentian Plateau to the Great Lakes. Only along the Pacific Coast and Maritime Provinces will winter temperatures average close to normal.

Precipitation-wise, drier than normal precipitation amounts are expected over British Columbia—an anomaly of sorts, since wet weather is usually the norm during the winter season. Meanwhile over the Prairies near-normal precipitation amounts are expected. Ontario and Quebec could be in for a snowy winter season while farther east, the Maritimes could vacillate between bouts of rain and snow.

2014-CANFA-WinterSignificant snowfalls are forecast for parts of every zone. Over Quebec and the Maritimes, the first two weeks of February could be in for possible heavy winter weather. This particular part of the winter season will be notably volatile.

 And mid-March could bring a wave of storminess stretching almost from coast to coast, bringing a wide variety of precipitation types as well as strong and gusty winds.­

Ice melter and protecting our water systems

ICE MELTER AND PROTECTING OUR WATER SYSTEMS

 It has long been established that the use of rock salt has negative effects on the environment.  In fact there are documented cases of contamination to drinking water and complete destruction of aquatic Eco systems due to excessive salt use.  Samples from a storm sewer near Toronto had recorded levels 140 times over the limit set by the provincial Government. Both Environment Canada and the Environment Protection Agency in the U.S. have done studies and are working on solutions to manage this problem. The salt and other chemicals get into the water system through a number of direct and indirect ways.  Once the salt gets into the Eco system, there is no way of removing it.  It can only be diluted over time.  This can be very problematic for sensitive Eco systems that have a slow turnover of fresh water such as natural and even artificial ponds.

The best solution for this matter is to take preventative measures. XYNYTH Manufacturing has developed 3 products that are ideal to address this issue.  GroundWorks Natural Icemelter and Mountain Organic Natural Icemelter were among the first environmentally friendly ice melt products to be introduced. These are fertilizer based icemelters, making them an ideal alternative for Eco sensitive areas.  Because they contain potassium chloride, the run off will actually feed the plants. This ultimately means less sodium chloride will get into the water supply.

Fish-and-saltIt should be noted that icemelters containing urea should be strictly avoided around water ways.  Urea contains nitrogen and breaks down to ammonia in the environment, which is extremely toxic to aquatic life, even in small doses.

XYNYTH has recently introduced a new product called Winter Warrior Runway Control™. This product is completely chloride free and urea free.  While it was initially designed for runway use, being that it is completely non-corrosive and federally approved, it is also ideal for use around sensitive water systems.
It is important to not associate all “pet friendly” icemelters with fish friendly products. Some products like Safe-t-Pet™ or Safe Paw™ are made with urea.  While urea is usually safe around animals, it is deadly to aquatic life.

A little chloride is not so bad, as it seems to be well known by owners of fish ponds that adding some chlorides can be beneficial to act as water softeners and help reduce parasites.  Some experts also recommend using potassium based chlorides as they have some benefits to fish.   For best results consult your local expert.