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Concentrated sodium (Na), a component of salt, can damage plant tissue whether it contacts above or below ground parts. High salinity can reduce plant growth and may even cause plant death. When the road is salted some of that salt can be sprayed onto the grass. The contact with the salt itself doesn't kill the grass. What happens is the salt dissolves into the water from the snow or from a rainfall afterwards and moves into the soil. The water then evaporates up or gets pulled up by the grass, but the salt stays. The grass actually uses a salt gradient inside it to pull the water into it through the roots (osmosis) but when the salt becomes too concentrated in the soil from all that road salt, that process can't work and so the grass dies from dehydration. It's the same thing that happens when people drink too much sea water.

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14y ago
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9y ago

Unfortunately, road salt does get on grass that is near the road, killing it. The grass can be restored, but it will not happen over the course of the summer.

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Q: Grass along the edge of a highway or sidewalk which had salt spread on it in winter turns brown and dies in summer?
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