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Beet juice helps Ill. arboretum keep trails clear

Published: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

LISLE – Suburban Chicago’s Morton Arboretum is using an unusual and environmentally friendly ingredient to keep roads and trails clear: beet juice.

P.J. Smith is in charge of snow removal for the 1,700-acre outdoor tree museum in Lisle. He said mixing beet juice with rock salt clears the arboretum’s 25 miles of trails and roads more quickly than salt alone. It also causes less harm to the arboretum’s more than 190,000 plants.

Smith said rock salt can dry out landscape plants. It also bounces from roads.

Adding beet juice reduces the bounce rate, so the arboretum can use less salt.

According to a Morton Arboretum release, National Seed in Lisle provides the beet juice used in the mixture. The arboretum said it’s one of the first area locations to use the treatment.

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