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Calcium chloride damaging junipers?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Woodland, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. Woodland

    Woodland LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 207

    Does anyone here have any knowledge of, or know of resources to find out if calcium chloride (i.e. highway de-icing) has adverse effects on juniper, specifically Juniperus virginiana and/or J. chinensis? We planted a row of J. virginiana late last summer along a busy road. We chose redcedar because of its hardiness against drought, salt, pollution, etc. but this spring all 18 of them died! I called my wholesaler in a panic and he told me that the extra that he had ordered when he ordered mine were also dead (the nursery is an hour and half away and a USDA zone warmer than me). He was unable to get an explanation from his supplier/grower and we have all assumed or agreed that the problem was from the grower. After much consideration as to possible causes, we've started to wonder if the use of calcium chloride as a de-icing agent on the roads may have been a contributing factor? Thus we are concerned about the health of the newly planted shrubs (J. chinensis). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,432

    I couldn't find too much info for you but i did find this


    Calcium Chloride (CaCl2) is also used extensively, although it is somewhat more expensive than common salt. It is effective as an ice melter at lower temperatures.It is much less toxic to plants than common salt, but can “burn” plants if applied heavily . Calcium chloride tends to attract moisture from the air even after ice is melted, and will therefore cause pavements to remain moist. It is effective at temperatures to -20º F.


    Calcium chloride is the chemical most effective at extreme low temperatures. It is also less likely to cause corrosion or plant damage when applied correctly. Avoid using rock salt whenever possible. Urea, (lawn fertilizer), can burn plants and lawns if too much is applied. Urea is also likely to cause pollution in run-off waters during the spring melt.


    There are five main materials that are used as chemical de-icers: calcium chloride, sodium chloride or salt, potassium chloride, urea and calcium magnesium acetate. The traditional product of choice is calcium chloride, which transforms ice into a slippery, slimy surface. This product is effective to about minus twenty-five degrees and plants are not likely to be harmed unless excessive amounts are used.
    Salt is the least expensive material available and is effective to approximately twelve degrees; however, it can damage soil, plants, and metals. Potassium chloride can also cause serious injury when washed or splashed on foliage. And, both calcium chloride and potassium chloride can damage the roots of plant

    Sounds to me like if used properly Calcium Chloride is fairly harmless to plants but the key word is properly

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