Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Hwy 23 Living Snow Fence


Project complete

Project summary

Install a living snow fence at the reduced conflict intersection of Hwy 23 and Lyon Co Rd 7 in Marshall. A living snow fence is made up of trees, shrubs, native grasses and/or wildflowers to trap snow as it blows across fields, piling it up before it reaches a roadway.

The living snow fence at Highway 23 and Lyon County Road 7 is more than 1,400 feet in length and fifty feet wide, and follows the northwest corner of the reduced conflict intersection. The planting of deciduous trees and shrubs is ten feet across with twenty-foot prairie buffers on either side. The plants are native to Minnesota in order to withstand harsh conditions and include:

  • 220 American plum trees
  • 102 fragrant sumac
  • 252 silver buffaloberry
  • 106 gray dogwood
  • 81 glossy black chokeberry
There is a 2-year plant establishment period from the date of planting. During this time, the contractor will monitor the living snow fence and replace plants that do not establish.

Project benefits

  • Prevent big snow drifts and icy road conditions
  • Improve driver visibility
  • Serve as visual clues to help drivers find their way
  • Reduce costs related to plow time and heavy vehicle use
  • Control soil erosion and reduce spring flooding
  • Lessen our impact on the environment with less salt use, fewer truck trips and less fuel consumption
  • For additional information, visit mndot.gov/environment/livingsnowfence


  • Traverse Des Sioux Garden Center

Project update

July 17, 2020

  • This project is still in its first year of the Plant Establishment Period
  • The contractor has been visiting the site twice per month to scout and mow
  • All plants are in good condition