Establishment, Protection, and Reestablishment of Urban Roadside Vegetation Against Salt and Ice

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  12/09/2000


The use of salt as a de-icer is common in Minnesota, because of its low cost and efficiency. But it causes many problems for highway maintenance staff because of its impact on the adjacent vegetation. Salty soils are not conducive to healthy vegetation growth, and the absence of healthy vegetation along the road may lead to weed control problems, increased erosion, and resulting damage to the pavement structure. The report outlines salt effects on soil, as well as methods to avoid vegetation damage by salt and ice before it occurs and to repair damage. It also contains a list of salt-tolerant grasses and woody plants for use in Minnesota. Preventive methods include selection of appropriate vegetation for conditions; use of salt-tolerant grasses and sods; use of native grasses and wildflowers; effective turf establishment practices; protection of existing vegetation; optimization of salt use; and use of products that are friendly to vegetation. Maintenance methods include irrigation to flush salt from soil; soil treatments; vacuuming and sweeping; rejuvenation of damaged areas; and design and construction strategies.

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