Willow Living Snow Fences
Blowing and drifting snow can increase the cost of highway maintenance and create hazardous driving conditions. These problems occur when snow is lifted off the ground by wind and transported across an open area towards a road. Local and state agencies in the United States spend over $2 billion annually on snow and ice control, and over $300 million annually in New York State alone. Living snow fences can mitigate blowing snow problems, reduce the cost of highway maintenance and improve highway safety. Living snow fences are rows of trees or shrubs that perform the same function as wooden or plastic snow fences by disrupting wind patterns, creating turbulence around the fence and causing snow to be deposited in designated areas.
Shrub willow is an ideal plant choice for living snow fences because of its rapid height growth, high branch density and relatively low cost of installation compared to other vegetation types. Numerous living snow fences of various species have been installed over the past decade and longer by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The Willow Biomass Program at SUNY ESF has recently collaborated with NYSDOT to install new willow snow fences and conduct research on mature fences in the landscape. Please click on the links below for more information!