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    Complete guide to snow and safety fencing

    Authored by Carol J. Alexander

    Two types of fencing that get little coverage are snow and safety fence. Both are purposeful, reduce risk, and are handy around the homestead. In this article, we’ll look at each type, how they work, and their uses.

    Snow fence

    In regions of the country that see a lot of snow and high winds, snow fencing saves the day. It reduces drifting that covers roadways and walkways. It eliminates the need for snow removal. And it lowers the cost of road maintenance. In other words, a properly placed snow fence saves time and money and increases road safety.

    On the farm, the strategic use of a snow fence keeps the path to the barn clear. But it doesn’t just keep snow away from an area. You can also use the fence to direct the snow into an area where you want the water from melting snow to accumulate for use.

    How snow fence works

    By design, a snow fence reduces wind speed, causing most of the blowing snow to fall behind it. It’s not supposed to block the snow’s path; just slow it down. Ideally, a snow fence is 40-50 percent porous so the wind can pass through it.

    Types of snow fencing

    There are three types of snow fencing you can use on your property. 

    Permanent snow fence

    A permanent fence is made of wooden slats. They run horizontally or vertically, like a picket fence, except the slats only cover about 50 percent of the area. Also, the bottom of the fence is roughly 8-10 inches off the ground. A permanent snow fence is used in areas with a long winter season that receives an extreme amount of snow. The wood species most suitable for fencing include pressure-treated pine, black locust, osage orange, cedar, redwood, and sassafras because they withstand the weather. Of course, your fence will last even longer if regularly maintained and coated with exterior paint or stain.

    Temporary snow fence

    If you live in a temperate climate with only a few snow storms each year, consider investing in a temporary snow fence. It comes in a plastic mesh or wood picket style, and you can buy it in rolls 50-100 feet long and 3-6 feet wide. It’s easy to install using T-posts and remove once the need is past. Then, simply roll it up and store it until you need it again. Keeping a temporary snow fence on hand for times of unprecedented snowfall is nice.

    Living fence

    Hedges planted perpendicular to the prevailing winds acts as a snow barrier around your yard or farm fields. Not only do living fences block the snow, but they also provide a barrier to dust and a habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Living fences also block noise from traffic and hold moisture in the soil. Choose species of shrubs, trees, or wild grasses suitable for your climate zone. The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry recommends multi-stem shrubs like American plum, Amur privet, and shrub willow. For trees, they suggest eastern red cedar or Norway spruce. An alternative for farmers is to leave eight to ten rows of corn standing alongside the road at harvest time to block the snow.

    Safety fence

    You’ve probably seen safety fencing around a dig site along a sidewalk to prevent pedestrians from falling in. You can use safety fencing anywhere you need a visual barrier between humans and something dangerous. It’s also used for crowd control at places like fairs and concerts. And while you may also see it at construction sites, safety fencing is not a protective barrier and is not intended to protect children and pets from harm.

    Safety fencing is typically a brightly-colored plastic mesh, although it comes in various colors. You can also use snow fencing and safety fencing interchangeably. Since it’s temporary and installed with T-posts, you can easily store it away when not needed. You’ll find many uses for this versatile fencing on the farm or homestead. Here are a few ideas:

    • To corral free-range hens
    • Protect your garden from deer
    • Prevent children from running where you just planted grass seed
    • Hold back an embankment during times of heavy rain
    • To prevent people from walking on wet cement

    The more you know about the types of snow and safety fencing, the easier to choose the right one for your property. And you can find everything you need in our latest fencing and gate catalog.

    More about fencing

    Planning a fence can seem daunting. Follow these steps to get your fence project planned and on the way.
    Make sure you have all the supplies and tools you need for your fencing project. Get lists for wooden, metal, electric, and vinyl DIY fences.