When a big snow storm rolls in, we get some huge drifts on our drive, especially when the wind is howling just right. If we had a snow fence, we might not have to work so hard with the snow blower!
Ag Engineer Greg Brenneman at Iowa State University says a proper snow fence has half-solid and half-open spaces. This lets most of the snow through the fence but slows the wind, which prevents drifts.
The best fencing materials are wood picket and the flexible plastic mesh. The plastic is less expensive, but tricky. If the end posts come loose, the fence will sag and be ineffective.
Where you place the fence is just as important. Brenneman says the most common mistake is putting it too close to the lane you're trying to protect.
"We would usually suggest having a snow fence 15-to-20-times the height of the fence away from the road. So if we have a four-foot high snow fence, we would probably like to see it back, oh, anywhere from 60-to-100-feet away from the road or driveway we are protecting," says Brenneman.
This is because with a four-foot-high snow fence, drifts can easily go out 100-feet or so. Beyond that, there will be minimal drifting.
Whether your lane goes east-to-west or north-to-south, Brenneman says to place the snow fence on the predominant up-wind side.
"An east-west road we'd place it on the north side, a north-south road we'd place it on the west side with the predominant wintertime winds being out of the west-northwest-to-north," says Brenneman. "Occasionally I have seen that we've actually had a south wind that caused quite a bit of drifting, but that's actually fairly rare."
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