Amongst the living: Willows prove they belong in group of snow fences

While farm country can seem peaceful in the winter months, blanketed by snow, these landscapes can also create hazardous situations for road drivers, as strong winds can blow snow onto roadways. Reduced visibility, ice roads, increases in travel time, snow-removal costs, and road salt applications can all result from blown snow. That is why preventive methods to control blowing and drifting snow are crucial, and one such method is the use of living snow fences (LSF). These are windbreaks of trees, shrubs or grasses that are planted in order to keep snow and ice from blowing off fields onto adjacent roads. The windbreaks are usually required to be set back a certain distance from the roadway in order to work properly, with wind turbulence forming deposits of snow drifts around them; however state-owned rights-of-way are often not wide enough to accommodate these LSFs. In Minnesota, shrub-willows have been identified as a native plant (native to much of the U.S. and Canada) that is already seen in many roadside ditches, and they have been extensively researched as a potential biomass crop for bioenergy. Many of the same characteristics that make willows ideal for biomass, including their fast and abundant growth, also make them ideal for LSFs.

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  • Accession Number: 01599595
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: May 3 2016 10:12AM