Salt protects your home

Road salt damages hedges and beds - this is how you protect your plants

Property owners should keep their hands off road salt. The popular grit damages hedges, trees and beds if it gets into the ground together with the meltwater. What are the alternatives?

Although road salt is forbidden for private use, the grit can still be bought. In addition, many municipalities use this method to quickly make smooth surfaces safer. In doing so, they often disregard the fact that it is extremely harmful to plants and animals.

Road salt prohibited for private users

"It is recommended that road salt only be used where traffic would be exposed to a significantly higher risk without salt. Alternative methods such as clearing and using grit and generally reducing the amount of salt by switching to moist salt using modern application techniques are to be favored "explains the Association of German Tree Nurseries (BdB). The Federal Environment Ministry also points out the harmful side effects for trees, bodies of water, vehicles and structures.

In many federal states and municipalities, the use of Road salt is already banned for private users. If it is used anyway, there is a risk of a fine of tens of thousands of euros.

The Ministry of the Environment recommends salt-free, deadening grit with the Blue Angel. Dulling agents do not melt ice and snow, but increase the grip of the surface by interlocking with the smooth layer. Broken rocks - i.e. grit or certain special sands - are particularly suitable for this purpose. They stay there after the snow melts and can then simply be swept up.

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Wood chips are not suitable as a grit. The material absorbs moisture. As soon as the temperatures are sufficiently low again, it freezes solid and does not reduce the risk of slipping.

Garden damage from road salt

Road salt, on the other hand, gets into the ground together with the meltwater. Plants then ingest it through their roots. The typical symptoms of road salt damage are very similar to those of drying damage. Affected plants show brown and ruffled twig tips, so-called marginal necrosis form on the leaves - their margins turn brown. In addition, there is usually a delayed budding and poor growth. In the worst case, the plants may even die. Garden owners should therefore refrain from using road salt, if only in their own interest.

Especially Hedges, Bushes and trees near the road remain at risk if the municipal clearing services use road salt. "The only way to counteract this is to water the plants very extensively as soon as the ground is open," advises the Federal Association of Gardening, Landscaping and Sports Field Construction (BGL). "Road salt has a similar effect to over-fertilization. The plant receives too many nutrients. This removes water from it."

Not all plants are equally sensitive to road salt

For new plantings near the street, you should use varieties that are as robust as possible. Because not all plants are equally sensitive. Conifers like Thuja or conifers, for example, are particularly resentful of undesirable nutrient intake. According to the BdB, some trees and hedges have proven to be particularly robust against road salt. The association recommends the following varieties in particular:

  • Field maple (Acer campestre)
  • Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
  • Pea bush (Caragana arborescen)
  • Bladder bush (Colutea arborescens)
  • Red honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum)
  • Black pine (Pinus nigra)
  • different oak species (Quercus)
  • Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum Schmidt)
  • Wild rose (Rosa rugosa)
  • Spring tamarisk (Tamarix parviflora)

Water plants even in winter

By the way, watering doesn't just have to be done to avoid salt damage in winter. Even evergreen potted plants that are outdoors need sufficient water in the frost-free time. Bamboo, Boxwood, Cherry laurel, rhododendron and Co. permanently evaporate water through the leaves, explains the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Agriculture. Especially on sunny days and with strong winds, they then need more water than the rain can cover. Plants that are dry, such as under eaves, are particularly thirsty.