Windbreaks can improve wildlife habitat as well as reduce heating bills, provide protection from high winds and snow, and enhance landscape aesthetics. This page shows you how.
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. Where space is limited, three rows, measuring from 40 to 50 feet in width, may be established.
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 demonstration purposed in an outdoor classroom.
Planning for windbreaks should be undertaken in the fall with planting in the spring. The following diagrams will help in this planning.
|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|
|Tatarian honeysuckle||Tatarian honeysuckle|
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 planning 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 inside row no less than 100 feet from any building or roads needing protection from winds and drifting snow. In planning the shape of windbreak, consideration should be given to wind direction, roads, lanes, topography, buildings, fences, available space and other trees present.