Shrub willows : an ideal plant choice for living snow fences with multiple benefits
Heavey, Justin P.
Volk, Timothy A., ǂd 1963-
Townsend, Patricia A.
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Blowing and drifting snow on roadways is a challenge in many cold-weather regions, especially those adjacent to large open fields with little or no vegetation or other obstructions to disrupt wind patterns. These areas are often remote from transportation maintenance facilities, and problems from blowing and drifting snow can persist for days or weeks after a snow event--closing roads and causing traffic delays. Constructed snow fences are often used to help keep snow from blowing onto the roadway. While these constructed fences work well, they serve only one capacity. An alternative is a "living snow fence" (LSF) which is composed of rows of trees or shrubs. The biomass from these plantings has the potential to be used for bioenergy and other purposes. Species such as poplar or willow can be particularly useful as a LSF, planted at low cost, and providing useful biomass. This publication provides details of willow LSFs being implemented in upstate New York and includes recommendations for other locations.