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Planting a living snow fence

Trees can hold back the snow

Listen to the radio story mp3

If you've ever driven through Minnesota or other states in the Snow Belt, you've likely seen long rows of pine trees planted parallel to the interstate, about 300 feet off the road. The trees provide some beautiful scenery, but they've been planted for a different reason: to help keep snow from drifting over the road. You can do the same thing -- on a smaller scale -- on your acreage, to keep snow from drifting over your lane, or around your barns or livestock areas. Some states will even help pay for the trees if the living fence helps keep snow off the road.

Radio interview source: Dan Gullickson, Minnesota Department of Transportation

For more information on living snow fences, we recommend the following Web sites:

State programs: Learn how to participate in programs in Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa.

Windbreak management: Windgreaks require management to remain healthy and effective. Here are some tips from the Kansas Forest Service.

Designing a living snow fence: Height, length, setback distance, density, and species determine exactly how your living snow fence will perform. This fact sheet from the University of Minnesota Extension illustrates a variety of designs using different types of trees.

Photo: University of Nebraska

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