Our city's street trees are particularly vulnerable.
There are environmentally safe de-icing solutions, which cost more than the standard, municipal inventories but the hope that individuals and public works departments will budget for those may be overly optimistic.
In the meantime, we can all be better tree and soil stewards when deicing sidewalks.
Tree Pittsburgh reports that de-icing salt "attacks healthy trees as well as sick trees, large trees as well as small ones."
- Plant the right tree in the right place, since some species are more salt-tolerant than others. Just remember: no tree is salt-proof!
- Clear as much snow and ice as possible before salting, and use it conservatively.
- After thawing, sweep up any remaining salt and save it to re-use later.
- When spring arrives, water trees that have been exposed to a lot of salt. This will help to wash the salt from the soil.
- Consider an ice melt alternative.