Saturday, February 1, 2014

Alternatives To Rock Salt For Spreading On Ice And Snow? Sand And Kitty Litter.

Q. We've had unusually cold weather here in Georgia. I even had ice on my walk and driveway last week. I was afraid to scatter rock salt because I heard salt might damage my garden. Can you suggest any alternatives?

A. Spread sand or kitty litter. Neither will melt ice or snow, but they do provide rough surfaces for traction. Neither will harm your garden.

If you decide to use sand, purchase the kind that's used in children's sandboxes. It's coarser.

Kitty litter might be a better alternative. It's more readily available. Avoid clay-based kitty litter. It can get slippery when the ice melts. You can buy eco-safe kitty litter at most grocery and pet stores. It weighs much less than sand, so is easier to haul about. Kitty litter can deliver.

A friend of mine, who shall be known only as S.W. because he probably wishes to remain anonymous as an unsung hero, lives in Atlanta. He was stuck in traffic for many hours during Winter Storm Leon. The area was slick as a skating rink. Many roads were impassable. S.W. might have been delayed longer, but he stopped at a grocery store and bought all the eco-safe kitty litter he could. He got back on the road, scattered litter before him, returned to his car and drove forward, stopped, scattered more kitty litter and drove forward again. He was soon leading a long, slow parade of desperate commuters out of the icy mess.

Not surprisingly, all of S's followers ended up at his house. He treated them to refreshments until he got tired of them lingering.

The kernel of this story was related to me by a second party who demands to remain anonymous. I can't verify everything.

My advice to you is to keep kitty litter in your car and garage all winter long, and don't forget refreshments.

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