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Tips of storing and using salt during the winter months

 

  • Salt should be stored in a covered, flat area, on an impervious surface – such as inside a shed or garage. It should be stored in a dry place, and in a container that will keep moisture out.
  • Remove loose snow before using salt.
  • Apply salt directly to ice formed on walks and driveways where it is a danger to people. Only apply salt when it is absolutely necessary to protect human safety – if a little extra effort can remove the snow pack or light ice, you may not need salt.
  • You can mix salt with an abrasive substance such as sand to help provide traction, and reduce the amount of salt you use.
  • Apply only the amount of salt that you need to melt the ice. Over application of salt will not increase its effectiveness, it will only waste money and contribute unnecessary pollutants to the environment.
  • Read manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure you are not over applying.
  • Do not apply salt near catch basins, and do not push snow or salt brine into catch basins as they drain directly to local streams.
  • Salt (sodium chloride) is most effective at 20F or higher, and does not work below 5-10F. Applying salt below this temperature will have no benefit.

 


Tips for putting a rain garden in your yard.

 

  • Select the low-lying site, at least 10 feet from any building, that will be used for the rain garden.
  • Determine how quickly the soil will drain by performing a percolation test. This will indicate the maximum bed depth that will drain in 24 hours for the existing soils. The slope of the site is also a factor in determining the bed depth.
  • The drainage area, bed depth, type of soil and distance from the downspouts can be used to determine the area of the rain garden. (The calculations are explained in several rain garden construction manuals available online.) Mark the boundary of the garden with paint or string.
  • Till or double dig the basin of the rain garden and grade it toward the center. Dig deeper to loosen clay soils. Amend with compost or peat moss and sand, if necessary.
  • Re-test the infiltration of water to make sure that the basin drains in 24 hours.
  • Select plant materials. Native plants that like average to wet conditions will thrive in local soils and continue to loosen the soil and to encourage the infiltration of water.
  • Plant the garden and apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch.
  • Maintenance in the first growing season will include limiting standing water while the plants are small, watering the garden during dry periods and pulling weeds.

 

Plants for a Rain Garden:

 

  • Coneflowers
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Red-Twigged dogwood
  • Blazing Star
  • New York Asters
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Solidago
  • Grasses
  • Blue Flag Iris
  • Blueberries
  • And many more!

(from www.raingardeninitiative.org)

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