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Might Grass Growth Be Inhibited by Salt?

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Salted Ice


The question is: Might grass growth be inhibited by salt?

The answer is yes; grass growth can be inhibited by the salt whether by spray or deicers. No matter if it's grass or shrubs; sodium which is an element of salt can harm the tissue of grass. The progression of grass can diminish and or may even die so care should be taken in keeping down the extreme buildup of salty soils from deicers (Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2009). Deicers can be very harmful not only to grass and other green plant life but on concrete and vehicles as well. It's basically a necessity once winter arrives to keep street and sidewalks safe. Tom Langen who is a Professor of Biology at Clarkson University states "Deicing roads is necessary to maintain safe travel conditions for motorists and travelers in cold regions during the winter months; but at high concentrations it stresses plants" (Langen, 2004 para. 3).

Salt can reach the grass either by run-off, splash and or spray. Once the deiced snow starts to melt; the salted water flows towards the grass or shrubbery that's closer to the roads. For grass that's closer to the curb, spraying can happen more often than not; especially if it's a busy/high trafficked road. The sprays or splashes from the traffic can cause major damage to plant life once winds pick up causing it to brown or excessive drying halting the growth (Palos Park Illinoise, para. 1).

There is more than one different kind of salt deicers. It's important to know what these deicers are made of and what they can do to your grass. Consumers of deicers often purchase ice and snow melt without sometimes doing the research as to what effects it might have on their environment and surrounding infrastructures. The result in not knowing can mean the difference in your curbside appeal come spring and or the surrounding walkway on their property.

There are basically four types of snow and ice removal deicers used. The first is Sodium Chloride which is more commonly identified as rock salt. Even though this specific salt is more widely used than any of the others; it should be evaded because once it starts disintegrating it tends to discharge an extreme amount of chloride. The second one is Calcium Chloride. Calcium Chloride is not as severe as the first one but one has to be very watchful when using it because it can cause skin irritation. The third one is Potassium Chloride. This one seems to do exactly what it should and that is melt snow and ice away. It's also one of the better picks. The fourth and last one is Magnesium Chloride. This deicer is fairly new on the market and it's also a very good alternative because it discharges roughly 40% less into the ground cover than sodium or calcium chloride (The New Yor Landmark Conservancy, para. 5).

Basically, anyone with dirt can grow grass. One has to take into account the seasons and temperature of the soil. Because grass gets more sunshine and sources of nutrients during the warmer seasons its better to initiate the perfect lawn. Like all greenery, grass is a living plant and very low maintenance. Sunlight, water and nutrients are the basic necessities of grass growth. Photosynthesis is the sunlight energy; the nutrients are delivered through the soil (Tristan, para. 1-3, 5).


Salt in soil may cause the inhibition for grass to grow.


If Potassium Chloride is used as a deicer then it will not prohibit grass from growing opposed to using Sodium Chloride. That is what I think will happen based on my research done. If this prediction is true then my grass will grow as intended.

Controlled Experiment:

Materials: 25 grams of Potassium Chloride and 25 grams of Sodium Chloride, 2 patches of grass, water, 2 measuring cups, 1 spray bottle.

I. First



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