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      Conservation agency warns of salt damage to plants

      Salt used to make roads and sidewalks passable after winter weather can damage surrounding plants.

      The Department of Conservation says Missourians can protect plants by creating drainage channels or barriers, using ice melting chemicals in moderation and by being particularly careful about applying salt in late winter and early spring.

      Damage can be treated by pruning dead or deformed branches and washing away surface salt residue. Powdered gypsum can be applied if soil has been contaminated by long and heavy exposure. Moderately contaminated soil should get 100 to 200 pounds of gypsum for every thousand square feet.

      Officials say symptoms of exposure to salt spray include yellowing or dwarfing of foliage.