Windbreak: What is it exactly and how does it work?

One thing I've noticed here in our new house, on this property of ours is that the wind around here can be quite forceful. And with the towering hickory nut, oak of some kind, and pine trees not far from the house I feel like we need to do something about that.

I have heard about a windbreak but am unclear about how it works or what it is made from.

If anyone can shed some light on this subject for me. I'd sure appreciate it.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,506 admin

    I could talk a lot about this, but I will post a link to a site that will most likely be better thought out and give you a good place to start. Maybe it can even point you to some local resources or give tree/shrub suggestions for your area.

    Up here, my recommendations for particular tree/shrub choices for a windbreak would be much different.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 945 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2022

    Windbreaks are usually a thick thicket of trees planted on the north side of the house since that’s the most common direction from which the wind blows in from.

    It depends what types of trees can grow in your particular area. Pine trees are good, there are many to choose from; from Douglas Fir to Cedar, also keep in mind the length of needle. Bamboo is also good, some varieties are invasive so be careful with bamboo.

    Having a variety of tree heights is beneficial so that all parts of the house/building gets protection from winds.

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin
    edited February 2022

    @JennyT Upstate South Carolina in my experience with windbreaks or shelterbelts, this is in the planning stage of a non existent windbreak, choose direction first, usually the western side in my experience is where we get our strong winds from, that may vary on location. Choose the area to be fenced off, should be at least 5 meters wide or 5.5 yards. Then choose either 2 or 3 species to plant in rows. A taller tree species and or 2 mid story species. The species chosen must grow well in your area, be tough and only require watering in the 1st year.

    I planted a mid sized tree species for the middle row- Casuarina & a mid sized shrub Cotoneaster for the 1st & 3rd rows. Not only do they help with the wind but give shade to stock & a wonderful environment for small birds, especially the cotoneaster. I can’t give you a photo, as I don’t live there anymore. You may choose entirely differently but you get my idea? Maybe a conifer or a cottonwood for the tree with a hawthorn type understory. Another idea is to use species that not only provide a windbreak but also you can forage for medicine.

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @LaurieLovesLearning that article was helpful.

    I appreciate the explanation @SuperC.

    @JodieDownUnder That is too bad that you don't have a picture, it sounds beautiful, what you planted at your old place. And thanks, I'll look at that link.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @JennyT Upstate South Carolina Windbreaks work for wind, noise, privacy and erosion. I would see what all used you want the break for.

    The biggest issue I have seen with a windbreak is not getting it set up correctly. Make sure you have tree high enough to get the wind over what you are trying to protect. Most towns and counties have groups that will help you with your area and wind patterns and history.

    Another fun project with a windbreak is to make it work for you. At the edges, place berry bushes or edible shrubs. Find out what edible plants can and will benefit from being planted there.