Community Agriculture Alliance: A way to block wintry bluster
March 11, 2011
Fort Collins — Routt County residents who want an inexpensive, long-term solution to prevent blowing snow from blocking driveways and access roads might consider snow fences grown from seedling trees.
"Customers who planted our seedling trees in the past frequently tell us that the living snow fences they grew are more effective than artificial barriers built to block blowing snow," said Randy Moench, manager of the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins.
Moench said landowners from Durango to La Veta to the Wyoming border have boasted this winter about the effectiveness of windbreaks grown from the seedlings. The Colorado State Forest Service Nursery offers a wide variety of seedling trees ideal for planting to block wind and snow, including Rocky Mountain juniper and eastern red cedar.
Planting a snow fence generally is more economical than building one, because the seedlings are inexpensive, long-lasting and do not require intensive maintenance.
But Moench said to expect a 10-year establishment time for living fences to become fully effective, which is why the State Forest Service encourages landowners to plant now.
Seedling trees also can be planted to block wind year-round, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce soil erosion, protect livestock, reforest mountain properties, increase property values and reduce utility bills. Seedling orders are being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
More information about the seedling tree program is available from the Routt County Conservation District by calling 970-879-0475, ext. 3, or online at http://www.routtcountycd.com.
Ryan Lockwood is an employee of the Colorado State Forest Service.