As a property owner or manager, you know the high cost of not removing snow or ice from your commercial business. Not only can guests slip and fall, but snowy parking lots often deter customers and even employees. Beyond the safety of those you serve, sitting snow or ice can cause other issues to your landscape, breeding fungal disease and causing compaction.
But some deicer products can be harsh on your turf, plants and even surrounding environments and water systems— causing salt damage and pollution.
We’re here to help you choose the right deicer for your commercial property, one that’s less corrosive and harmful to your landscape and property beyond.
The Most Common Deicer Chemical: Chloride
Many common deicer products are made up of soluble “rock salts” or other chloride-based ingredients, such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride.
While these salt-heavy deicers are often the cheapest and most readily available of deicer products, they’re often not ideal for your commercial landscape, especially when laid down in high concentrations. Why?
The Effects of Chloride
As the chloride breaks down your snow and ice, its chemical aftermath can accumulate to toxic levels— sapping your grass and soil of adequate moisture. The salt and corrosive chemicals make it harder for your plantlife to retain or take in water. As a result, they experience symptoms of drought such as turning yellow and withering, both on the edge of your sidewalks and open garden beds.
These chemicals can also seep into nearby water systems, and even affect your neighbor’s property (and vice versa from your neighbor’s landscape to yours). Passing vehicles on roads with sodium deicer can also splash your vegetation and stunt new growth come spring.
What’s more is that these corrosive chloride products are harsh enough to impact your hardscape over time. Concrete and other stones can experience discoloration, chipping, cracking and overall degradation when regularly treated with chloride-based deicers. Even metals can be affected if not carefully managed.
The Less Corrosive Alternative: Acetates
Acetates— like calcium magnesium acetate, sodium acetate and potassium acetates— are also a chemical salt that can be used to melt snow and ice. However, what makes acetates unique from the rest is that they lack any trace of harsh chloride.
Acetate products are only as corrosive as common tap water, and not harmful to your commercial property’s plants nor your sidewalks and other hardscape features.
While acetates are more expensive than chloride deicers, they are significantly safer on your commercial landscape, and the preferred choice if within your budget.
Checking Your Deicer Label
When looking for a deicer, always be sure to read the label. There are often mixtures which can contain both acetates and chloride, and while not as safe as a product without chloride, these mixes are still often a less corrosive option. For example, many landscape professionals recommend a calcium chloride-based deicer to reduce salt damage if a full switch to acetates isn’t possible.
For businesses seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, acetates are typically a safe choice to reduce the environmental impact.
Other Ways to Prepare for Snow & Ice
While deicer products certainly contribute to landscape damage come spring, there are other factors to consider when ridding your property of snow and ice.
Oftentimes, building a strong soil structure well before the winter weather hits is your best solution for maintaining a healthy landscape throughout the cold. Here are some more tips for protecting your grass during wintertime as well as six ways to stop yellowing and salt damage from deicers.
The Right Deicer Matters, But So Does the Right Landscaper
Choosing the right deicer product is something that many commercial properties often don’t consider when hiring landscape professionals. Not all landscapers use the best solution for your landscape’s well-being, opting for the cheapest alternative instead.
Be sure to ask about what options you have for deicers when choosing a commercial landscaper and opt for acetates whenever possible.
Our crew at Caramanico & Sons is here to care for your property like we would our own. Request a proposal from us today so we can get started clearing your snow and ice, as soon as possible.