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Green Tip

As fall turns to winter, we look for ways to keep our driveways, walks and steps safe during snowy and icy weather. There are several de-icing products that are more environmentally- friendly than rock salt when used sparingly, after loose snow is removed. They form a liquid brine which can break the bond between ice and pavement, so ice can be shoveled away.

Traction on snowy or icy surfaces can be improved with the use of sand, sawdust, wood shavings or kitty litter, and these natural products can be mixed with ice-melt products to reduce the use of chemicals around your home and yard.

Calcium chloride will melt ice to a temperature of -25 degrees, but it leaves a slimy residue, is corrosive to metal, and can damage vegetation if over-applied. Magnesium chloride is a very similar product, is less corrosive and is safer on concrete and plants.

Urea, a commonly used fertilizer, will melt ice to a temperature of 15 degrees. Use sparingly as over-application can harm vegetation.

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid. It has little effect on plants and concrete, but its performance decreases at temperatures below 20 degrees. It prevents re-freezing more than it melts ice and tends to leave a slush.

Whatever product you choose, follow instructions on the label and wear gloves when applying.

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