Windbreaks are rows of trees and shrubs that protect areas from wind. Windbreaks have many benefits, including improving wildlife habitat, reducing heating bills, providing protection from high winds and snow, and enhancing landscape aesthetics.
Where space permits, a windbreak of five rows of trees and shrubs is recommended. A five-row windbreak with proper spacing between rows will measure from 80 to 90 feet in width. If space is limited, you can plant three rows, measuring from 40 to 50 feet in width, for a similar affect.
Hardwood and deciduous trees, which shed their leaves in the fall, are not as effective as evergreen species for winter protection. However, the bare limbs of deciduous trees will reduce wind velocities to some extent. Also, hardwood species are faster growing and taller at maturity than most evergreens. A combination of evergreens and hardwoods is recommended for optimal performance in the shortest amount of time.
You should start planning the windbreaks in the fall and plant in the spring. Use the diagrams below to help you plan an affective windbreak.
|ROW 1||ROW 2||ROW 3||ROW 4||ROW 5|
|Black haw||Black alder||Pin oak||Black alder||Black haw|
|Deciduous holly||Hawthorn||northern red oak||Hawthorn||Deciduous holly|
|Flowering quince||Jack pine||Shingle oak||Jack pine||Flowering quince|
|Highbush cranberry||Red cedar||White pine||Red cedar||Highbush cranberry|
|Lilac||Scotch pine||Green ash||Scotch pine||Lilac|
|Mock orange||Serviceberry||Loblolly pine||Serviceberry||Mock Orange|
|Redbud||Norway spruce||Shortleaf pine||Norway spruce||Redbud|
|Nanking cherry||Nanking cherry|
The diagram below shows the planting arrangement of a hardwood and evergreen windbreak. The staggered row arrangement gives best coverage.
Rows one through three can be used when creating a three-row windbreak with row one on the windward side (side exposed to the wind). To be effective, a three-row windbreak should have its middle row at least 100 feet from any building or roads needing protection from winds and drifting snow. When planning the shape of windbreak, consider wind direction, roads, topography, buildings, fences, available space, and other trees present.