what to use instead of salt on walkways

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Can anyone out there tell me what we can use instead of salt on our sidewalks and slate pathways to help keep them from icing. The commercially available icemelt stuff chewed holes in the sidewalk last winter. My dh thinks wood ashes would do the same. Any ideas or thoughts? We are in upstate NY. Thanks :-)

-- Cheri Asprion (t.asprion@att.net), January 26, 2001


This winter we have used inexpensive cat litter, Wal Mart brand, to be exact. It holds up for a few days before it begins to decompose and gives someone just the right amount of traction to keep from falling. As for how natural and safe for the environment it is, I can't address that, but it's got to be better than salt.

-- melina b. (goatgalmjb1@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001.

We use a handful of granulated fertilizer. It won't hurt the plants and our porch looks fine. Sorry ya'll our ice has melted for the time being! We do have mud though! Salt is really hard on your grass and ashes make a BIG mess when it thaws! The fertilizer (NITROGEN IN IT) melts little holes in the ice and you can get great traction. When it snowed on top of it this winter, it rethawed it too. Even put some out by where we get in the truck so we wouldn't floop upside down trying to get in!

-- Nan (davidl41@ipa.net), January 26, 2001.

I use lawn or garden fertilizer. Where it washes off it feeds the grass. I only use it on the spots that I can't shovel or sweep free of snow and ice.

-- Notforprint (Not@thekeyboard.com), January 26, 2001.

I keep a bucket of nutshells and and crushed acorns around here for that. When its melted , just sweep em in the yard.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), January 26, 2001.

Wood stove ashes work in a pinch, but are kinda messy.

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), January 26, 2001.

Dry sand. We keep it in a covered bucket right by the back door. Also, I have heard of using old coffee grounds. Sandy

-- Sandy in MN (jpevans_56353@yahoo.com), January 28, 2001.

I grew up on a dairy farm and we used "barn lime" in the barn and on any icy walks as well. It does a terrific job in keeping you from slipping but doesn't melt the ice. I think it was just a granular form of plain old limestone.

-- Diane in IA (dshogren@uswest.net), January 28, 2001.

Corn meal!

Fertilizer can stain your cement, and too much along the sidewalk borders can kill your grass.

Corn meal won't melt snow, but it will give you traction. The birds can eat it. What they don't eat composts into the soil. I'm actually suprised at how good of traction it gives.

-- Paul Wheaton (paul@javaranch.com), January 28, 2001.

concrete??? whos got that?? Im 25 miles from it,,,

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), January 29, 2001.

Since we have eight great danes, we don't like to use any kind of chemical that might injure their pads or they might ingest. Instead, we sprinkle baking soda on the deck when ice/frost makes it slippery. It gives great traction and the dogs aren't interested in eating it, but if they were it wouldn't hurt them. It acts the same way wood ashes wood to give traction. Also doesn't track into the house and if it did it would need just a little water to clean it up.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), January 31, 2001.

We've been using BarnGrit. Same stuff the farmers put down in the barns to keep the cows from slipping. It is made of limestone. I figure it isn't going to hurt the yard or grass or animals.

-- Heather (heathergorden@hotmail.com), January 31, 2001.

we use amonium nitrate where the stock cant get to it and the plain livestock salt if absolutly necessary where they can i use very little because i am very frugle ashes and sawdust work tooas well as any other dry dust you can findsweeep out the barnand use the chaff.remember rocksalt is poison to livestock too so be carful where stock can get to chemical ice melters

-- george darby (windwillow@fuse.net), February 02, 2001.

Hadn't even read this thread since we don't have ice :) Went up north this AM and walking from the gals house to the barn she had birdseed all over the sidewalk for the ice. She said she also used corn chops, which both are eaten by the birds and her hens. I thought that was pretty neat! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), February 02, 2001.

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