This report covers the experimental phase of an investigation on effect of deicing compounds on vegetation and water supplies. The investigations involving roadside and other environments coupled with laboratory and greenhouse research give data and interpretations on the influence of two deicing salts (sodium and calcium chlorides) on the chemical composition of soils and on the morphological and physiological effects of various woody plant species and grasses. Conclusion and applications concerning the findings are also included. It was shown that extensive use of deicing salts can result in contamination of roadside soils and injury to plant life. However, it was also determined that soil contamination and injury to plant life does not occur where there is adequate drainage of surface runoff from the roadside. The data show marked differences in tolerance to the ions in deicing salts of the various trees, shrubs, and grass included in the controlled field study. The honey locust deciduous tree, privit and honeysuckle deciduous shrubs, juniper evergreens, and Kentucky 31 tall fescue grass were all found to be quite resistant to rather heavy applications of deicing salts. Tulip poplar, green ash, rose, spirea, hemlock, and Kentucky bluegrass were all seriously injured by much lighter applications. It was also found that fertile soils, those high in phasphate in particular, reduce injury from deicing salts.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Hanes, R E
    • Zelazny, L W
    • Verghese, K G
    • Bosshart, R P
    • Carson, E W
    • Blaser, R E
    • Wolf, D D
  • Publication Date: 1976

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 88 p.
  • Serial:
    • NCHRP Report
    • Issue Number: 170
    • Publisher: Transportation Research Board
    • ISSN: 0077-5614

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00148141
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: NCHRP16-1
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Final Rpt.
  • Contract Numbers: HR16-1
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 27 1977 12:00AM