34th Street


Rock Salt Harms Trees and Plants

We ask owners and managers to use environmentally friendly products to melt ice.

With alternating bouts of snow, rain, and below-freezing temperatures, NYC’s winter poses a challenge to businesses and building owners looking to keep their sidewalks clear of ice. With a full month of winter left, we’re not out of the woods yet so this is a good time to remind property owners in the 34th Street District that, in case we get a more snow and ice, using sodium chloride (rock salt) to melt ice causes many problems.

Sodium chloride is corrosive to concrete sidewalks and treepit fencing, and the runoff finds its way to the Hudson River and affects the fragile ecological balance there. Director of Horticulture Maureen Hackett also warns that depositing snow laced with salt into treepits is harmful to trees and shrubs. 

Avoiding these problems is simple and economical. Two effective ice-melting compounds, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, cause much less damage, and require smaller quantities, than sodium chloride. The 34th Street Partnership asks all district owners and managers to purchase either of these products for ice-melting now, before it’s too late. Also, please direct all personnel to at all times avoid shoveling snow and/or ice into treepits.

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