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Beet juice used in snow removal at Morton Arboretum

<p>A handful of salt with a mixture of&nbsp;<a id="firsthit" name="firsthit"></a>beet&nbsp;juice&nbsp;is used on the roads during winter time. | Sun-Times Media File &nbsp;</p>

A handful of salt with a mixture of beet juice is used on the roads during winter time. | Sun-Times Media File  

LISLE — Aiming to remove snow in a cost-saving and environmentally friendly manner, workers are using a mixture of beet juice and rock salt this winter to clear drives and walkways at Morton Arboretum in west suburban Lisle.

Mixing beet juice with the more commonly used rock salt clears snow quicker than salt alone, and reduces the damaging effects rock salt has on plants, according to a news release from the Morton Arboretum.

The Arboretum, located at 4100 IL Route 53 in Lisle, has 16 miles of roads and nine miles of trails, according to the release.

By using Ice Bite, a mixture of beet juice provided by National Seed in Lisle and rock salt, the Arboretum reports it is using nine times less salt and saving nearly $14,000 in material costs during snow removal this winter.

The beet juice mixture more effectively clears snow than rock salt alone because it has a lower freezing point of water, according to the release. Also, rock salt, or sodium chloride, can dry out landscape plants.

“Rock salt doesn’t just damage your car -- it causes damage to soil, plants and trees, and even our water supply,” P.J. Smith, construction supervisor at the Arboretum, said in the release. “As an institution, we’re committed to making our world a greener place, so we feel good about using a product that minimizes our salt usage.”

The Morton Arboretum mixes Ice Bite on site, and its fleet of snow-removal equipment, including sprayers and blowers, is customized to work with the beet juice mixture, according to the release.

 

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