How to Protect your Trees from Salt Damage this Winter

protect trees from salt damage

protect trees from salt damageJohnson City, and Kingsport TN

Winter is officially here! This means salting roadways, sidewalks, and steps to prevent slip and fall injuries or other accidents due to ice. Here in East Tennessee, we are no strangers when it comes to the frigid, icy winter weather that heads this way every year. Salt is a popular compound used to melt ice. While your primary goal is to keep your family and guests safe by avoiding slip and fall injuries from your iced-over driveway or sidewalk, you could damage your trees without knowing it. Today on the blog, our ISA-certified arborists in the Tri-Cities share ways to protect your trees from salt this winter.

Sodium chloride or salt is damaging to trees. It’s bad for their root systems and could jeopardize their health. While you have the ability to control the type of salt applied to hardscaped areas on your own property, you can’t do much about what the city applies to the roads. The biggest concern with ice-melting salt is when large piles of snow accumulate along the roadway or against trees. Still, the salt solution could seep into your soil as the ice melts.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your trees from salt damage

  • When applying ice-melting salt for your driveway or sidewalks, avoid salt contact directly with trees or the base of the tree (unless otherwise entirely unavoidable).
  • As a precautionary measure, you can flush out your soil and rinse the base of your trees with plain water from the hose after the ice melts and the temperature during the day reaches above freezing.
  • Add mulch or compost around your trees. The mulch and compost act a bit like a filter for the water before it reaches the tree’s root system. While it’s not a full-proof way to prevent salt from reaching the soil, it can lessen the amount, providing some protection for your trees.
  • Wrap your tree bases with frost cloth before the temperatures drop. This prevents frost from forming around your trees and reduces the need for ice-melting salt. Be sure to remove the wrapping as soon as temperatures are above freezing. Additionally, do not place the cloth around your trees if frost, snow, or ice is not in the forecast.
  • If snow is in the forecast, you could place snow houses around your small trees and shrubs. These prefabricated tents can easily fit over small trees and shrubs and may be ideal for ones that are newly planted.
  • Rinse or water your trees to water down the salt solution that accumulates around your trees.
  • Have your trees inspected before bad weather hits. ISA-certified arborists in Johnson City are trained and qualified to inspect trees for health, disease and provide protection from the winter elements. Preventive care is always best when it comes to caring for trees. Our Kingsport arborists may also be able to provide some helpful tips that are specific to your landscaping needs.

Our certified arborists in Kingsport are here to help you with your tree care needs. From pruning, general tree maintenance, tree removal, and health assessments, Promier Tree is Kingsport’s source for tree care. Learn more by calling (423) 765-2626. We provide our services to the areas of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol.