Snow & Ice Management Made Easy with Brine

AMJ Landscaping. Inc

Introducing Snow Fighting 

Brine Applications

brine spray truck

AMJ Brine spraying snow and ice management in Maryland


December 1, 2016   By, John Gallagher

AMJ Landscaping, Inc. is one of just a few businesses in Maryland offering one of the most powerful and cost effective ice prevention solutions –  Salt Brine

Snow and Ice Management Costs are driven by the storm itself; the amount of snowfall, number of pushes for removal, stacking and hauling or melting costs, the number of days storm occurs and always changing temperature factors.  No two storms are alike but the ability to get to dry pavement quickly is what our clients want appreciate.  Their ability to be open for business and not have any safety issues for their essential personnel are our highest priority.

Traditionally, we get called out after 2 inches of snowfall.  We shovel, plow and lay salt and ice melters hoping to break the bond between the precipitation and the surface.  Then we watch the weather, make necessary additional pushes and wait as temps drop overnight so we can jump out at 3 am to reapply.  Sometimes this goes on for 3-5 days post storm.  And that gets expensive.  Let me explain the alternative that can save time and money plus produce better results.

There are 3 levels of treatment AMJ is proposing:This was the old school way of hurry up and wait for salt to work

  • Anti-Icing
  • Pre-wetting
  • De-Icing

All three may be necessary depending on the weather but let’s explore them on their own merits


Anti-icing – avoid the Abominable1922408_10202728322481785_38326677_n

Anti-icing measures take place before snow falls.  The road surface is never “lost” because AMJ Snow Fighters are proactive.


Diana Clonch, owner of DW Clonch Consulting, who spoke at the Snow & Ice Symposium held in Ohio has a great analogy.  Diana says, “It’s like making and egg.  You add oil or butter to the pan, it creates a little layer, or cushion we can plow off of when we get there and nothing is stuck to the road”.

Proactive Snow Fighting with Brine Solutions

  • Keeps Snow in plowable condition
  • Reduces overall freezing temp (eutectic point)
  • Requires less Salt and fewer repeat applications
  • Gets into cracks and crevices rock salt cannot
  • Doesn’t bounce or blow off surfaces
  • Improves roadway friction
  • Can provide bare pavement in some events by itself
  • If storm bypasses, residue remains in place on the surface, ready to work when precipitation comes
  • Reduces need for abrasives and follow up services
  • Least to faster clean up after the storm has ended
  • Reduces Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces Overtime usage
  • Rock Salt remains a crystal until humidity reaches 70%

There are several factors to consider before anti-icing with brine, most are moisture dependent.  For example, brine should be applied to dry surfaces where rain is not forecast for 24 hours and temperatures are 20F to 35F.  At above 35F salt will suck moisture out of the air, and below 20F there’s potential to create ice.  There must be sufficient time for the solution to dry onto a surface before the surface’s temperature falls below 20F.

Some of the things we noticed and like about anti-icing with brine are:

  • Easier plowing and stacking
  • Adding Natural components like beet juice can improve sticking and again lower freezing point
  • Good for up to 1 inch of snow melting by itself, but this cushion is key to reducing removal costs
  • Add CaCl2 or MgCl2 for treatments below 20F and heavy pedestrian traffic areas
  • Add GeoMelt 55 for maximum effectiveness
  • 1/3-1/2 the amount of bulk salt product used per acre post storm treatment required
  • More happy clients, open for business safely in less time

Traditional chemicals used by most contractors include Bulk Salt -Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), and Calcium Chloride (CaCl2).  But used separately they don’t work as good as when combined.saltbrine


AMJ’s advantage is that we will pretreat surfaces to break that bond BEFORE it occurs. 



Salt, sitting on paved surface by itself is inert unless moisture is introduced, and comes in contact with the granular rock salt. We’ve always known that once salt melts and gets a little slushy we had brine and we could plow more effectively.  Of course, then we had black ice once temps dropped and would have to heavily re-salt.  Bounce and blowing off surfaces is greatly reduced with pre-wetting.  The formula is 23.3% salt dissolved with water.


It’s a tool you need to know about.


Every good chef knows brine rubbed on meat brings out the flavor.  So, last year we tried that same theory on something different.  We thought that if we pre-wetted the salt that we used in our spreaders it would react more quickly once spread.  Sure enough that worked!  We saw 50% faster reaction times and used less salt per acre than in previous years.  Notably, the specific weather of any given storm is the determining factor but the difference was obvious.  All our drivers reported the ease with which snow could be plowed and salt spreaders weren’t clogging like usual, plus the overnight salt guy (me) got done in half the time using half the salt.  How cool is it that to not have to trek back to the loading bin in the wee hours of the morning after being up since yesterday?  When I went back to survey the sites around 9 am things were beginning to dry out and people were amazed at the conditions of their sites.  All in, a huge success.  Never mind the cost saving to us as contractors for labor, wear and tear and fuel.


There are devices you can put on your trucks like saddle tanks to spray right into the spreader spinner during salt application.  This is the most accurate method and will help you control your output and costs.


De-Icing is the most common means of removing ice from a customer’s facility.  De-icing is the application of an ice-melting material after ice has formed on the pavement, sidewalk or other traffic area. This is the tedious part of snow and ice management.  Customers are anxious to get their business up and running, you’ve been out for a day or more without sleep, mother nature never cooperates.  But we have the solution, literally, if you want to speed up the process and provide better results with less cost, we recommend brine applications.


  • Mixed with brine, MgCl2 , CaCl2 or beet juice can increase effectiveness
  • Lowers freezing point temp
  • Activates melting faster and controls refreeze
  • Reduces bulk salt use 30% or more
  • Can be directly applied to sidewalks, parking lots, loading docks, pavement, access roads
  • Brine gets into the cracks and crevices where ice forms
  • Reduces your cost on fuel, trucks, call backs, bulk salt and labor
  • Biodegradable
  • Low Toxicity
  • Safe to Handle
  • Surface dries faster
  • Less call backs and touch ups


How to get started?  AMJ can partner with you to set up a tank at any location you approve and be your supplier.  We can also set you up with the purchase of the appropriate sprayers and tanks if you want to try it this season.


AMJ Landscaping, Inc.                                                   8211-A Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Pasadena, MD 21122    410.437.3027

Outdoor Furniture Pre-orders

Tired of the old lawn Furniture?  Don’t want to deal with cleaning it in the Spring? Would you like something more comfortable and colorful?  AMJ has exactly what you need!

If you order before Dec 15th, AMJ will pick up that old furniture and deliver your new furniture this Spring.

AMJ proudly presents North Cape International Wicker and Resin

Sunbrella Fabrics in your choice of over 100 colors

Details available on our website: , click Services and Outdoor Furniture to see our selection

Outdoor Resin Wicker Deep Seating

Landscape Lighting

It’s getting dark earlier, you’ve put away the patio furniture, the cool evening air we have been enjoying has turned down right crisp. Time to pack up the grill, put away the patio furniture and head indoors right? Wrong!!! modern-design-outdoor-patio-lighting

Pumpkin Lattes, Spiced drinks and Trick or Treating are right around the corner and we have a Treat for you! 
AMJ Landscaping is offering to extend the use of your Landscape Design through the winter. 

As AMJ Landscaping’s Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer, I can add low voltage LED path lights and a few strategically placed fixtures around your home, under trees or looking down from the roof corners to provide a more enjoyable atmosphere and allow you to stay outdoors a little longer. The fixtures mounted on your home are designed to spread light across an area and are usually very bright, almost blinding. Outdoor Landscape Lighting is designed to enhance the surroundings, put emphasis on the beauty you have created and highlight areas of safety without being noticed. Think about what your yard looks like when there is a full moon out. There is a big difference.

Want to see for your self? 
I can set up a demo kit at your home so you can see for yourself. Call the office to set an appointment with me 410.437.3027. Be warned though, I will take the demo lights away after a few days and you’ll wish they were still there.

Landscape designs are meant to be enjoyed from Indoors too.
Being able to see the same landscape in a different “light” brings a whole new value to the project we’ve already completed. Your landscape comes alive in very different way during the winter and we here at AMJ Landscaping would like to help you enjoy your investment all year round.

There is also a safety factor
Home Security is another reason to have outdoor lighting, law enforcement will tell you a lit home is less likely to be burglarized.
Or, say you have to let the dogs out…ever have trouble seeing see where they are in the yard? What about something as simple as family coming over for dinner? We don’t want anyone to fall and get hurt, that just puts a damper on the party. Outdoor lighting steps safer

Energy Savings with LEDs
The great thing about LED’s in Outdoor Landscape Lighting is they run on far less power than the bulbs in your house fixtures and LEDs last up to 5 times longer. Now you can have Outdoor Landscape Lighting and not pay through the nose for it.

It’s always good to come home. Outdoor Lighting for a long driveway
AMJ Landscaping’s Outdoor Lighting Team will set up your system on a digital timer that can run from say, 5 pm-Midnight and pop back on from 5:30am-7am so everyone can get out the door in the morning. If you work like I do, it’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home. After a long day at work I get to enjoy a peaceful moment when I drive up and see my landscapes, the stone work on the house and my walkways lit up when I get home. It’s always good to come home.

We spend a lot of time out on the back patio at my house in the fall too. Our steps are lit and the lights on the posts of the deck overhead cast a nice glow on the patio. We have up lit a few large trees on the perimeter so the yard doesn’t seem so small and scary. From indoors we have a perspective of the yard that didn’t exist before we added landscape lighting. This year we are adding a fire pit, so it’ll be warm out there…for sure to get a lot of use. Might be a better investment than a hot tub.techo pit close up

Call me Today, I’ll do a FREE consultation at your home. 410.437.3027


Irrigation Winterizations Happening Now

Wilkins PVB Irrigation Backflow preventer hunter_pro_c_outdoor irrigation controller





It’s time to turn off the irrigation system for this year…AMJ follows all factory recommended procedures to complete the following:

  • 180 cfm of Compressed Air regulated at 60 psi eliminates 90% or more of the water in your system
  • Heads will be free of water and avoid freeze damage to plastic gear parts
  • Set the backflow valves and petcocks to prevent freezing
  • Turn off the controller
  • Flat fee of $13.50/zone
  • 20 years of expertise
  • Call Today to Schedule  410.437.3027

Last Chance for Fall Lawn Maintenance


Fall Season Lawn Maintenance, by John Gallagher, AMJ

<< BA

As days shorten and temperatures descend, it becomes time to implement fall lawn maintenance to prepare your home for the upcoming winter, when your lawn goes dormant.

Fertilizing is essential during these months. Fertilization of your lawn can provide an additional nutrient boost to be stored and used during the dormancy period. Throughout the winter, roots will keep growing and utilize these stored nutrients until the spring.

When leaves start falling, blow or rake the yard clean once per week at minimum. Making sure your yard is free of leaves not only improves appearance, but influences the health of your yard. Leaves block out sunlight, which your lawn needs in the fall as it stores up food for winter dormancy.

Aeration Overseeding


Thatch is the tightly intermingled layer of partially decomposed grass stems and roots which develops beneath the actively growing green vegetation and above the soil surface. Thatch decreases the vigor of turfgrasses by restricting the movement of air, water, plant nutrients, and pesticides into the soil. This operation should be performed when thatch is greater than or equal to one inch in depth and only during periods of cool weather and adequate moisture.

Maintaining a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 will favor microbial activity and hence, break down of thatch. It is not necessary to dethatch every year, rather, only when thatch build-up becomes excessive.


Fall is also a good time to aerate your lawn. Lawn Aeration fights grass compaction from summer traffic and promotes uptake of oxygen and nutrients.

Aeration is the process of mechanically removing plugs of soil from the turf area, thereby creating an artificial system of large pores by which moisture or plant nutrients can be taken into the soil. Aeration is employed to alleviate soil compaction and can significantly reduce thatch.

Aerators are equipped with hollow tines (usually 3–4 inches in length and ¼ to ¾ inches in width) or open spoons to remove plugs from the soil.

We usually avoid aeration in the spring because sometimes spring dethatching will bring large numbers of weed seeds to the soil surface and create voids for weeds to germinate and grow.

Power Seeding increases turf density. It improves the overall appearance and health of your yard. AMJ’s Lesco power seeder is designed to dispense the exact correct seed amount without harming existing turf.  Power seeding in fall can also help the yard recover from the heavy use from the summer and has an effect on the way the lawn will look during the upcoming spring.
The best natural defense against insect and weed damage is a dense lawn.

Winter Fertilizations

Our time tested preference is to provide a slow release Winter Fertilizer which not only provides the carbs needed for the plant to survive and continue growing roots but also store enough energy until pre-emergent controls can be applied in Spring.  The benefit is that your lawn get a nice growth spurt in the Spring, and its color comes back without the excessive height produced by Spring Fertilizations.

Call TODAY for a FREE Lawn Evaluation to discover what could be hiding in your lawn.

LED Landscape Lighting

LED Lights have made the use of Landscape Lighting even more affordable.

LEDs run on up to 90% less electricity

  • Use less wire in the ground to make connections
  • Use a smaller transformer to power the lights
  • Same ease of installation on the ground or in the trees shining down to the ground
  • Nearly all styles available in LED
  • Makes a great Christmas present

Call Today to Schedule a design appointment 410.437.3027


The new Family Gathering Place is the FirePit

Nothing is more exciting than having a fire pit in the back yard!family enjoying fire pit

  • Smores, marshmallows and hot dogs
  • Causal Conversation
  • Extend the summer evenings into Fall/Winter
  • Easy to maintaincustom fire pit
  • Wood or Gas
  • Decorative Fireglass available for Gas units
  • A few hours less of reality TV
  • All Ages can Enjoy!


Get started for less with EP Henry’s Fire Pit Kit– it comes complete with segmental wallstones and caps, copper basin and a fire screen.  We have one outside our Customer Design Center you can try out for size and effect.  Installed price for the EP Henry Kit is $2450 locally.

firepit kit, EP Henry Coventry Wall

EP Henry Fire Pit Kit

Add a gas burner up to 400K Btus with custom color glass for easy use and no cleanup.  AMJ Landscaping can provide the plumbers and electricians too.firepit with glass

HPC Burner

250K Btu x 37″ penta burner by HPC


Get creative and make it a centerpiece for a new table.  Need Ideas? Call 410.437.3027 Today!



5 Common Grilling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Sorry, this was so well written I had to copy and share it with you. –John

5 common grilling mistakes and how to avoid them

Your barbecue could be better. Here’s how.

Kori Perten

Kori Perten 
May 04, 2016

Cooking is still a science, even when you’re doing it outdoors. Despite what your dad might have taught you, grilling is more about patience and planning than poking and prodding. Make a single error, and your burgers could turn out tough and bitter, your chicken rare and unappetizing.

Luckily, these errors are easy to avoid.

At, we’re determined to host nothing but perfect barbecues this summer, so we devoted hours upon hours of research to compiling the ultimate list of grilling don’ts. Here are the five top barbecue mistakes you might be making—and how to prevent them in the future.

Reviewed Guide to Grilling

1. Your grill is dirty.

We don’t mean to be rude, but your grill is filthy. And why shouldn’t it be? Those grates have seen countless steaks, skewers, and sausages—which means they’re coated in grease and charred bits of food.

Here’s the problem, though: That charred mess could ruin tonight’s dinner.

Dirty grill
Dirty grates can make your food taste bad.   View Larger

Weber 6464 18-Inch Bamboo Grill Brush

Buy now for $6.65 Grilling chicken? It’ll stick to the dirty grates, shredding when you remove it. This makes for an ugly meal and an even dirtier grill. Plus, the grime will give your food a bitter flavor and increase the chance of flare-ups.Cleaning isn’t fun, but if you do it every time you use the grill, it should be relatively painless. It’s easiest to scrape off grease and food remains when the grates are hot, so we recommend going to work with a metal grill brush during preheating. That way, when it comes time to actually slap some food on that bad boy, it’ll be clean and ready to go.

2. You don’t preheat the grill.

Not only is preheating a great time to clean your grill, but it’s also crucial to getting the best possible cooking results. If you throw on some ‘dogs before your grill is hot enough, they’ll stick to the grates. You won’t get those nice, dark grid marks, and you might end up overcooking your meat in the pursuit of a good sear.

Preheated grill with food
A preheated grill gives your food those nice grill-marks.   View Larger

The fact of the matter is that metal grates take a while to heat up. The flames may be hot, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your cooking surface is—yet. And if the grates are made of thick cast iron, it may take a really long time for them to get as hot as the rest of the grill.

So employ some patience. After you light the grill, shut the cover to help trap heat (unless you’re doing necessary cleaning). Give it 10-20 minutes, and resist the temptation to keep staring at the flames. Then, by all means, start cooking. Good on you for being so patient, friend! You get a mouthful of tasty barbecue for your troubles.

3. You don’t use the lid properly.

There’s a time and place for everything, and that includes the lid on your grill. Sometimes it’s meant to fit over your food, keep it safe, and help it cook. Other times, it should be anywhere but on top of the grill. The trick is knowing when to use it—and when to skip it.

The lid performs a very important function: trapping hot air and smoke. So if you’re cooking thick cuts of meat, like roasts or bone-in chicken, you’ll want to use it to conserve heat and make sure your food cooks through.

Grill with lid
Use the lid when you want to trap heat or cut off the grill’s oxygen supply.   View Larger

Just make sure not to open it too often. It’s okay to flip burgers or check on your food every now and then, but every sneak peek affects the way your food cooks. If you’re cooking on a gas grill, your curiosity will cost you heat. If you’re rolling coal, the sudden rush of oxygen will make the coals burn hotter, which could burn your food.

For quick-cooking foods like burgers, shrimp, and sliced veggies, you can leave the lid off and cook directly over the flames. You’ll get a good sear, but the food won’t cook through as fast because the ambient air will be much cooler. In other words, you won’t lose that pink, juicy center in your steak or burger, and your asparagus won’t turn to mush.

Pro tip: If you find yourself battling flare-ups, shut that lid. Cutting off the grill’s oxygen supply can knock down the flames.

4. You’re overzealous with the heat.

Our caveman brains tell us that fire is good. Flames produce the heat that cooks your food. It’s only natural to want to coax them to greater heights and put your food right in their crosshairs.

Unfortunately, that’s a big mistake. (Huge!)

Grill with tall flames
Your food shouldn’t be exposed to direct heat at all times, especially if the flames are too high.  View Larger

We’re really talking about two issues here: Tall flames and direct heat. Tall flames may look totally awesome, but they’ll leave your meal burnt and bitter—not exactly a recipe for success. It’s best to keep the fire low, so that your food can sit over it instead of in it.

As for direct heat, it’s not always the best way to cook. Searing a steak or burger? Sure. But cooking a chicken through? For that, you’ll want to distribute coals over one half your charcoal grill, or only light the burners on one side of your gas grill. That way, you can sear items on the hot side of the grill, then cook them more gently on the other side, using indirect heat. The cooler side of the grill is also a convenient place to shift your meat or veggies during a flare-up to prevent burning.

5. You add sauce too early.

How could sweet, smoky barbecue sauce possibly ruin your lovingly grilled food? You’d be surprised. The same sugars that can give your meat that flavorful, caramelized glaze will also burn when exposed to heat for too long.

There’s no benefit to adding your sauce early in the process. It doesn’t soak into the meat, and it’ll just give you a blackened, acrid crust when it overcooks.

Grill with BBQ sauce
Brush on the barbecue sauce in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.   View Larger

Avoid this tragedy by waiting until the final 5-10 minutes of cooking and then applying the sauce with a brush.

When it’s all done, sit back and consume the fruits of your labor! If you took care with your technique, it’s bound to be tasty!