Use the Right Snow-Melting Products to Avoid Damage to Ches. Bay, Plants, Surfaces

State Says Do Not Use Fertilizer to Melt Snow – Nitrogen and Phosphorus Harm Chesapeake Bay

ANNAPOLIS (Feb 12, 2010) – Following record snowfalls, Maryland Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance advises residents never to use fertilizer to melt snow as it can add unnecessary nitrogen and/or phosphorus nutrients into local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay. The University of Maryland Extension has a fact sheet to help residents decide which type of product may be most appropriate for their needs. The fact sheet also identifies ways to melt snow without de-icing products, how to avoid damage to plants, and whether products are corrosive. There are also new more environmentally friendly products on the market to consider such as sugar beet molasses, known as Ice Bite, which the State Highway Administration plans to test on state roads this winter.

“We have seen recent news reports advising residents to use fertilizer as an option to melt snow. Fertilizer should never be used as it will add unnecessary nutrients and risk damage to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Secretary Hance. “We all have to do our part to help the Bay. Farmers don't apply nutrients on frozen ground, neither should urban and suburban residents."

The University of Maryland’s fact sheet, “Melting Ice Safely” is available on line at

Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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