After a brief weekend warmup, Iowa’s back to winter weather. While the big orange trucks spray salt and sand on the roads, a garden center clerk says you should not try that at home. Julie Streitenberger at the Earl May store in Shenandoah says the sodium in that salt isn’t good for your lawn, and could kill the grass.
There are products made that are safe to use near your landscaping plants — certain kinds of ice-melt and snow-removal chemicals that will be labeled something like "Safe for your lawn and concrete." Homeowners also found snow melting off their rooftops, only to drip and freeze on the ground around the house, or onto anything that’s planted there, like bushes.
She says the weight can tear off branches from bushes and shrubs, but the ice itself won’t kill plants…in fact, it insulates them a little bit. They’ll need the protection, as there’s still plenty of winter ahead.
You might think about getting seeds for your tomatoes and other slow-germinating plants like geraniums, but other than a few of those, it’s too early to think about starting anything else for the garden yet.
Streitenberger says even greenhouses aren’t yet starting to plant their spring flowers and vegetables for the parking lot greenhouses that will spring up in another two or three months, so for now we’ll have to be content with the promise of seed catalogues.