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Can you use too much salt on the driveway or walkways?

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

The answer is YES! Most people have the instinct that more is better. In the case of salting a walkway or hard surface path, there are a few things for you to keep in mind:

Less is more. It may seem counterintuitive, but all of that extra salt is not really going to help melt the snow any faster, or help if the temperature is too low. What you will do is leave a mess of salt on your walk or driveway, which will eventually be washed away into our streams and rivers. Many types of wildlife are also affected by over-salting.

Timing is key. Making the effort to clear the drive, walkways and paths immediately after a snowfall goes a long way to ensuring the freeze/thaw cycle of the Minnesota winter does not have chance to wreak havoc by creating compacted ice berms on your walks or driveways. If you do this, using a measuring cup or spreader to assist, you should use no more than 2lb of salt for the average city lot. This included driveways and paths. 2lb of salt does not seem like a lot when you measure it out (2 average coffee cups), but that is all you need to get the job done and help do your part for mother nature!

An ounce of prevention. Once you have cleared the snow and applied your salt, you should be prepared to go out after a few hours with a shovel to scrape off the walks and driveway surfaces after the salt has had a chance to do it's work. If you do this and time it correctly, you will simply be gliding your shovel to clear and pickup the remains and ensure your walkway and surfaces are clear and safe for transport. If additional traction is needed, sand is going to be your best option. Check out these winter maintenance tips from the Nine Mile Creek Watershed District.

At Minneapolis Lawn and Snow Patrol, we have a specially mixed sand/salt combo treatment that we can add where desired, and will give you the best of both worlds. This is especially good for in front of garage doors, outdoor gates, entryways, etc. We also utilize a liquid brine as this brings superior results depending upon the temperature, and it reduces a good deal of salt use that would just end up doing something other than its intended purpose. Doing our small part to protect the planet for future generations.

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