Porosity and drag determination of a single-row vegetative barrier (Maclura pomifera)

H. B. Gonzales, M. E. Casada, L. J. Hagen, J. Tatarko, R. G. Maghirang, C. J. Barden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deciduous trees of the species Maclura pomifera (Osage orange) are commonly established as vegetative barriers for wind erosion control throughout the U.S. Great Plains. Because there is no previous research on the aerodynamic effectiveness of these vegetative barriers during different seasons (leaf-on and leaf-off conditions), this study focused on determining the porosity and drag characteristics of this tree species. Digital image analyses were used to determine optical porosities that were then correlated with barrier drag coefficients. Images were taken in the field during calm wind conditions when the sunlight was suitable for digital imaging. Wind speeds were measured at different heights for a single-row Osage orange barrier using cup anemometers. Two anemometer towers were positioned relative to the barrier. One was located windward at 10H distance from the barrier; the other was located leeward and was movable to distances of 1H, 2H, 4H, 7H, 10H, 12H, 15H, and 20H from the barrier, where H is the average barrier height. The wind speeds measured in the field ranged from 4 to 7 m s-1, with lower wind speeds encountered during the leaf-off condition. As expected, wind speed reductions were greater for the leaf-on condition and ranged from 40% to 80% at 1H from the barrier, while the reduction was 20% to 38% for the leaf-off condition. The crown portion of the barrier was found to be responsible for much of the reduction. Mean values of the drag coefficient were 1.3 for the leaf-on condition, decreasing to 0.9 for the leaf-off condition of the Osage orange barrier, which corresponded to mean optical porosities of 20% and 61%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-652
Number of pages12
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Drag coefficient
  • Image analysis
  • Osage orange
  • Porosity
  • Vegetative barrier
  • Wind erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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