Many of us would agree that our view of the wind is only romantic: sitting in a warm, cozy house with the wind blowing through the windows. In reality, the wind blowing across our plots is a problem, not a good one at all.
By creating windbreaks with plants, you can break strong winds into a few weak ones, greatly reducing the destructive power of the wind.
This article will discuss how to plant windproof plants to protect your plot from the wind.
WHAT DAMAGE CAN WIND DO TO OUR PLANTS?
In high winds, trees and shrubs can twist, break, or even be completely twisted out of the ground. In winter, when plants are covered with snow, they have a better chance of surviving the cold temperatures that the wind constantly tries to blow away, exposing them.
In frosty weather, the wind dries out the plants even more, especially when the roots are frozen and therefore unable to work.
And in hot weather, the wind is just a nuisance that supplements the work of the sun and dries out the earth and everything that grows on it.
If you remember the “little” troubles, like the gradual erosion of the soil, greenhouses, and shelters being blown away from the area, or materials being carried away for spreading the work?
It is generally clear to any gardener that the wind on a plot is a problem that must be tamed in some way.
HOW DO YOU TAME THE WIND?
A fence is the first thing that comes to mind. And it should be high and deaf, made of stone, wood, or corrugated panels. Yes, it would save, but only for a short distance behind the fence itself.
When an air jet hits it, it will rise and then fall again with the same force. Not only that, but it creates a vortex and pulls the plant from one side to the other.
It may be better to try to break up this powerful jet into several weaker ones, reducing their destructive power. Various techniques and engineering tricks can be devised to do this.
But for us gardeners, this method has been thought of and used for a long time – weakening the wind through plants – a windbreak wall.
The essence of the method is to break the wind into countless small streams whose effect is no longer so catastrophic. Moreover, with the right organization and the right choice of plants, such a windbreak wall will serve to decorate the garden and act as a shelter for birds.
So, how to do this?
Determine the direction of the wind
First of all, it is worth looking at the wind vane in your area to find out which side the wind blows most often and is most dangerous (information can be found on specialized websites). The first side worth reporting is this one.
Typically, the biggest hazards of the climate in the central region are caused by cold north and east winds. Although it is still necessary to make wind protection around the site and surround it with windbreak plants on all sides for better results.
How high should the windbreak be?
When creating a windbreak, you need to decide what area you want to cover. In fact, when the wind encounters particularly densely planted plants, it breaks down into many small streams.
As you move away from them, the wind merges back into a strong current and its power builds up again. This distance is about the height of 8-10 hedges.
That is, to be clear – if a dense hedge of wind-resistant plants is 6.5foot (2m) high, it will cover 65foot (20m) behind it, effectively even less, 32foot (10m).
But if after this 32-65foot (10-20m) you plant the hedge again, then, of course, the “wind-free” area will increase.
WHAT DOES THE IDEAL WINDBREAK PLANTING LOOK LIKE?
Theoretically ideal. The first blow is taken by a dense hedge, followed at the far end by a line of tall trees, whose purpose is to lift the already weakened air currents upwards to pass over the garden and also to break them up further.
Anything passing through the first two lines of defense encounters the third line of defense, the tall shrubs planted. They hold back the remnants of the wind’s former strength. Beyond them begins a tranquil area suitable for fragile and unstable plantings.
Of course, this is great for large plots, where there is space for both a garden and a vegetable garden, as well as flower beds and this three-tiered windbreak. If the plot is small, the standard 6 acres?
Here, instead of organizing windbreaks along with the entire plot, you can organize windbreaks by creating separate groups when wind-resistant plants cover more sensitive plants. Of course, it is also worthwhile to make the most of the existing buildings.
WHICH PLANTS ARE SUITABLE FOR WINDBREAKS?
It is important to choose the right plants for this windbreak planting. Naturally, they must be wind-tolerant, non-brittle, and have a deep root system. They should grow quickly and without much trouble. Since you need a lot of them, they should be cheap or available in abundance in your area (self-seeding or root grafting). This deserves to be discussed in more detail.
The first layer (strip) is a hedge of tall, free-growing shrubs or trees formed by pruning. This line bears the first blow, so it should be dense and consist of strong plants – turf grass, hawthorn, linden, Greenland, Alysha, beech, hornbeam, elm.
It is also possible to use conifers, for example, spruce. The latter, despite its shallow root system, is anchored quite firmly in the ground due to its large size. However, the popular thuja vine is a poor choice. It has a shallow and not very wide root system (disc-shaped) and can easily be blown away by the wind.
All these plants are perfectly tolerant of pruning and can be kept at the right height while forming thick and dense walls of branches. By the way, evergreens do not have to be used for windbreaks; deciduous trees can be used, but those with dense canopies are fine.
They should be planted densely, at a distance of 23inch (60cm), preferably in two rows, in a staggered pattern. For large plots, this is only the first layer, while for smaller plots this may be the main protection against the wind.
In the second layer, tall trees are planted. Let me remind you that their purpose is to keep the wind-up. The same lime, but not clipped, birch, pine, and maple trees. Other sturdy trees in your area, such as oaks, willows, rowan trees, sycamores, the same beeches, carob, or elms are also suitable.
The third tier is within the garden and includes forsythia, bilberry, hickory, okra, snowberry, decorative dogwood, lilac, etc.
Each gardener may have his or her own selection of windbreak plants. Here’s how I arranged it: On the north side, the first layer is a 6.5foot (2-meter) high wire fence with a dense weave of unpretentious maidenhair grapes, forming a solid cover of branches.
About 32foot (10 meters) away from it grows large linden trees, walnuts (not the best choice, it’s brittle), and apricots. Also on the same line are the house and the barn. Behind them are small independent “walls” with prickly cypress, pyracantha, hibiscus.
Because the site is 328 feet (100 meters) long and narrow, this interior hedge of ornamental shrubs and trees will continue to be created as the site is developed.
Under the cover of these layers of windbreaks, many fragile, heat-loving plants that do not tolerate drafts can be planted. Let’s say magnolia, Albizia lenkorana, persimmon, or some of the more southern species of common fruit crops, apple trees, pear trees, etc.
THE SPECIFICITY OF GROWING AND CARING FOR WINDBREAK PLANTS
Of course, the task of windbreak plants is to protect the garden. But our job, in order to make them work, is to make sure that these plants themselves have comfortable growing conditions in the early years. Then, the windbreak will grow and rise as quickly as possible.
When planting, it is best to use 2-3-year-old seedlings. In fact, when they are cut back, their flower buds will actively awaken and there is an active formation of new shoots and the hedge becomes dense and dense. It is better to use container plants so that they can root and sprout faster, and the planting holes should be filled with a loose nutrient mixture that will likewise accelerate growth.
Seedlings should be pruned 1/3 to reduce fallacies and increase branching. And they must be tied to stakes or made to stretch because we plant them in the windiest places. For the first year or two, it is good to provide them with protection from the wind by pulling up a grid or installing a temporary fence.
A nuisance, but necessary. Once the seedlings have taken root, with good care, they can already start to play their role in a very short period of time.
Some aspects that are not immediately apparent are also worth considering. There is no need to plant a hedge of one plant. If certain specific pests or diseases invade, you will immediately lose an important element of wind protection.
Combination planting works better, although it is more difficult and requires knowledge of plant compatibility. Don’t forget that a thick wall of conifers looks good and provides good protection from the wind, but on a hot summer day, you definitely want a little breeze.