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Home > Protecting Our Lands & Waters > Conservation > Conservation Practices > Living Snow Fence

Conservation Practices
Minnesota Conservation Funding Guide

Living Snow Fence

Living snow fence with red osier dogwood. Photo courtesy MN DOT.
Living snow fence with red osier dogwood. Photo courtesy MN DOT.


Winter driving conditions on the road with a living snow fence. Note snow deposited in field downwind of vegetation. Photos courtesy MN DOT. 
Winter driving conditions on a road and without a living snow fence. Photos courtesy MN DOT.
Comparison of winter driving conditions on the same road with (top) and without (bottom) a living snow fence. In the top photo, note snow deposited in field downwind of vegetation at far left. Photos courtesy MN DOT.

Living snow fences , a type of windbreak, are trees/shrubs planted strategically along roads to trap snow and keep it from blowing and drifting on roads or driveways. Old living snow fences may need renovation, including removal and replacement of selected trees/shrubs, to continue working properly.

Why plant or renovate a living snow fence on your land?

  • Improves winter driving visibility and safety by keeping blowing and drifting snow off roads/driveways
  • Reduces road/driveway maintenance costs (less snow plowing, salt and sand)
  • Helps disperse snow more evenly across cropland
  • Helps reduce spring flooding
  • Provides opportunities for additional income from salable tree/shrub products such as nuts, berries and decorative floral material
  • Provides food and cover for wildlife
  • Adds roadside scenic interest
  • Sequesters carbon

Similar & related practices

More information

Guidance from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

National Agroforestry Center publications

Other resources

See Field Windbreak and Tree/Shrub Planting resources also.


See contacts for specific programs that fund this practice in the side-by-side payment comparison or contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District