Sodium Chloride, or snow melt/rock salt, is a necessity in modern societies where there are wintry weathers. While applying salt to roads, walkways & parking lots improves safety, salt is a menace to plant-life. Urban forestry heavily relies on the space on the roadside, road median & parking lots in urban environments. So are green stormwater infrastructures. As a result, many plants suffer, are severely damaged or are killed by rock salt.
We hypothesized that TreeDiaper® could mitigate the salt damages by washing away or diluting salty runoff with the stored stormwater. To test this, we used a moderately salt tolerant shrub, Shamrock Inkberry Holly or Ilex glabra 'Shamrock'. Half of them were installed with pre-soaked TreeDiaper® treemats, while the other half were covered with just mulch. After ~30 oz of salt applied to the root area, all the shrubs without TreeDiaper® died, while all the shrubs with TreeDiaper® survived. The experiment was continued by applying more salt on the shrubs with TreeDiaper® that were still alive. It eventually took 60 oz of salt on average to kill shrubs with TreeDiaper®.
During wintry weather conditions, we know it is not an option to not use salt. People’s safety is the top priority. While we highly recommend you to avoid over-use salt on the roads, walkways and parking lots. When you must use salt, consider use TreeDiaper® to provide a better chance of survival for your plants.
A Video of the Process of the Experiment can be found on youtube: https://youtu.be/LrFDPkLVtdc
Warner Winthrop, Sales Representative of Colesville Nursery, Virginia