Salt used to make roads and sidewalks passable after winter weather can damage surrounding plants. That’s according to the Missouri department of conservation. MDC officials say Missourians can protect plants by creating drainage channels or barriers, using ice melting chemicals in moderation and by being extra careful when 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 heavy exposure. Officials say symptoms of exposure to salt spray include yellowing or dwarfing of foliage.