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Eco-friendly methods of reducing the consequences of winter maintenance in urban green areas

Anna Bach, Bożena Pawłowska, Małgorzata Pietrzak

Department of Ornamental Plants
Faculty of Horticulture, University of Agriculture in Krakow
29 Listopada 54, 31-425 Kraków, Poland

Trees play a crucial role in the urban environment. They fulfil aesthetic, socio-cultural, ecological, health-promoting and economic functions. Urban development and related human activity bring many risks to green areas within urban space. Plants are exposed to stress connected with water, soil and air pollution. Living space, harmful light and thermal conditions, drought, high density and changeable soil pH with excessive salinity are further disadvantages. European and Northern American cities have to cope with a serious danger of tree death. A leading cause is the use of de-icing chemicals in winter, particularly sodium chloride, applied due to its cost-effectiveness and availability.

The paper describes traditional de-icing chemicals used in urban areas (NaCl, solid aggregates, CaCl2, MgCl sulphates - MgSO4, (NH4)2SO4, urea alcohols and glycols - isopropyl alcohol, ethylene glycol, methanol) and newly developed sodium chloride substitutes (calcium magnesium acetate CMA), sodium formate and acetate - NaFo/NaAc, potassium carbonate - K2CO3). Moreover, prophylactic methods aimed at preventing the negative impact of de-icing campaigns, rules of planning and design of urban landscape, and reasonable management measures and pro-ecological modern technologies reducing and reversing the consequences of harmful actions are presented.

Bach A., Pawłowska B., Pietrzak M., 2009. Eco-friendly methods of reducing the consequences of winter maintenance in urban green areas. Folia Horticulturae 21/2: 99-109.