Homeowners dealing with dead trees and shrubs

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Indianapolis - For many homeowners, it will be an ugly and expensive and spring.

Two different circumstances are playing a role in killing off significant numbers of trees and shrubs.

The extremely dry summer and fall was tough on younger plants that don't have much of a root system and older shrubs and trees, especially evergreens.

The damage from that incredibly dry weather running from mid-summer to fall is beginning to show up.

On top of that are the thousands of tons of salt the city and homeowners have put down on the street, parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.

"If you put salt down in your driveway or you have evergreens and trees right along the street and your city or town salted your road, you have to remember that salt truck has a big billowing spray that comes out from behind it when it's salting and that spray can be blown way off into the sides of your property as far as 50 feet from the street can be hit by salt spray," said Nelson Scharadin, Sundown Landscaping.

The salt is like poison. It melts the ice, but it can also damage trees and plants - in many cases so severely they can't recover.

"The event the homeowner has to look out for is what Purdue Extension service calls catastrophic collapse. Your evergreens are going to look pretty decent, but start to turn brown around the edges. They will hang on green as long as they can. Then all of a sudden, when all the water is exhausted they will go from looking relatively healthy to going brown in just a few days," Scharadin said.

There is still time to save some of the sickly-looking plantings:

Spray the shrubs and trees to get rid of the salt residue.
Flush away any salt left on the ground.
Consider putting down some gypsum to neutralize the salt.
Keep the area well watered.