The rock salt used to de-ice roads, sidewalks, and driveways contain — you guessed it — salt! And if that snow salt leaches into your landscaping or lawn, you could see negative results.
What Salt Does to Grass
Driveway salt is dehydrating, so naturally, it takes moisture away from the soil resulting in dead roots and grass. If the grass is already dormant when the salt hits, it won’t do too much damage but can inhibit the dormant grass from growing again once spring arrives.
Check with your local garden center about which brands are safe for use around landscaping, or consider using sand instead to increase traction.
How to Fix It
Wait for the grass to green up in spring before evaluating the damage. At that time you’ll be able to see how much of the grass sprung back to life and how much is gone for good. We recommend giving it about 6 weeks to bounce back. You can speed up the process by watering the damaged area daily to flush the salt out below the root level.
If your grass is not coming back after taking these measures, you’ll likely have to reseed those areas. Rake out and remove the dead grass, loosen the soil, then spread grass seed with fertilizer. That will take up to four weeks to germinate, then another 6 weeks to establish a strong root system. Avoid fertilizing the new area right away, as the fragile blades won’t be able to handle the harsh chemicals.
Another solution if your city crews are using sidewalk salt and you can’t control the brand or usage amount, is to install temporary snow or silt fencing. It will keep your lawn near the road mostly free of salt. Covering your grass with plastic sheeting held in place with rocks is an alternative option.