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Using Beets To Battle Hazardous Winter Roads

Beet juice is becoming a safe deicer for roads.

Michael Jackson lyrics go hand-in-hand with karaoke and 80’s parties, but little did we know one song title might offer up the solution to clearing icy and snowy roads. “Just beat it!” Well, in this case “Just beet it.” State Departments of Transportation, including Missouri and Pennsylvania, are looking to beets for help battling hazardous winter road conditions. Below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, road salt loses its effectiveness in melting ice and snow. Adding beets to the mix helps the salt work at lower temperatures, down to zero or even below zero degrees. Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation says a new and improved version of beet juice is being tested – it has more sugar which is supposed to improve performance.

Tips for You: Until a beet juice and salt mixture is perfected, you can follow these ‘salt smart’ tips to clear ice and snow from sidewalks, driveways and walkways. Using salt sparingly protects water quality and saves you money.

  • Shovel first. Clear away as much snow and ice as possible before you use salt or any other deicer. Only use deicers on ice, not snow.
  • Save your salt. Read the label and use salt sparingly. Use about 30 percent less salt by wetting it with some water before applying it to icy patches.
  • Protect your plants. Keep salt away from salt-sensitive plants. Learn more about salt damage to plants.
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