It’s beginning to look a lot like, well, winter! Now that December is here, snowy and icy weather isn’t far behind. So make a plan now to keep your walkways clear or you’ll be slippin’ and slidin’ all over the place. But before you go sprinkling the areas with deicing salt, you need to know—plain and simple—salt kills grass! And no matter how carefully you apply the salt, it’s likely that some will spill onto the lawn bordering your driveway and walkways, or the run-off will seep into the turf. So what’s the solution?

Before the winter weather turns icy, liberally sprinkle gypsum in a 5-foot-wide band all over the grass that’s within spittin’ distance of where you’re probably going to be using salt. Then overspray the gypsum with my Winter Walkway Protection Tonic:

Mix 1 cup of dishwashing liquid, ½ cup of ammonia, and ½ cup of beer in a 20 Gallon Hose-End Sprayer, and then apply it over the gypsum to the point of run-off. Your soil and turf will be in great shape for even the toughest winter weather.

But this winter, why not try some terrific natural alternatives to melting the ice? Clean cat litter and sand both provide traction on slippery surfaces, and they’re cheap, effective, and environmentally friendly. There’s also a whole slew of new ice melters that are salt-free—so check ‘em out at your local hardware store.