Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

March 12, 2014

Road salt can damage landscape plants

The practice of salting the earth to destroy, at least symbolically, the productivity of a defeated enemy’s lands has been in existence since ancient times. During a winter such as we have “enjoyed” this year, large amounts of salt have been used to clear streets and highways of snow and ice. Additional salt may have been used as a melting aid for driveways and sidewalks. While salt today does not have the kind of symbolism it did back then, it can still result in damage to landscape plants. Salt causes damage to plants in two ways. Spray from roads may cause contact injury to leaves, buds and small twigs. Evergreens are particularly susceptible. With this type of injury, damage is usually more severe on the side of the plant closest to the source of spray. Unless damage is very severe, plants usually recover. A more serious cause of damage is when melting salt alters soil chemistry. The most commonly used form of salt is sodium chloride. When it dissolves in water, it breaks down into sodium and chloride ions, both of which are toxic to plants if present in high concentrations in soil. Sodium blocks necessary nutrients such as potassium, calcium and magnesium from being available to plants. Chloride ions are absorbed by plants and accumulate in the leaves, where they interfere with the production of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. If salt does not break down, the water in soil becomes salt water, resulting in damage to roots. See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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  • They've been known to pick a song or two Someone I know — I don't even remember who — used to have a "You may be a Redneck if ..." daily calendar. One day it read: You may be a Redneck if your mother has a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt.

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  • Expiring term heightens urgency of lawmaker’s mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January. The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying in-state tuition to attend state colleges and universities.

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    July 16, 2014

  • Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.

    July 16, 2014

  • Extension Service celebrates turning 100 On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the federal Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service as a nonformal educational program designed to help people use research-based knowledge to improve their lives. In recognition of 2014 being the centennial year of the Extension Service, Purdue Extension – Boone County will commemorate the milestone with activities and displays at this year’s Boone County Fair.

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    July 9, 2014

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