Old windbreak design included only a single row of trees or shrubs was repeatedly used in older homesteads. It has now understood that a single row planting can be ineffective at decreasing wind speed, or at worst, it can increase the turbulence of the wind near the area you are attempting to shelter.
A newer design usually includes three to eight rows of plant material. A shrub or hedgerow, a row of conifers, a canopy tree and an understory tree (smaller tree on the house side of the break) are usually incorporated for maximum effectiveness. It will be important to look at the area of your residence that will be affected by this windbreak. A windbreak planted too close to homes and structures can create more problems than it solves, such as sand accumulation or stagnant air in summer. In general, buildings should be no closer than 100' from the windward row.
Windbreaks can serve many other beneficial purposes. In more recent years, an additional purpose of providing shelter for wildlife has been incorporated into windbreak usage. Plants bearing fruits or nuts for food can be protected by the wind break Aesthetic enhancement is another benefit. Many flowering shrubs or trees such as lilacs, seedling roses and crabapples provide spring color and are protected by the windbreak.
Privacy can also be a benefit. A recent nearby development can be strategically blocked from view by designing windbreak plantings properly. You can also reduce the noise and sight of a nearby road or highway with plants from your windbreak. The same principles that slow the wind around your home will also reduce the effects of snow and dust.
Some of the more popular plants selected for windbreaks in the High Desert areas are chosen for their ability to withstand extreme cold, poor soils and periods of drought and high wind.
Plants that are the most cold and wind resistant should be planted on the windward side, and more sensitive fruit or nut trees should be planted on the leeward side of the row.
Your best protection from wind will be determined
by the mature height of your windbreak. If your tallest tree is 50'
tall, this measurement is your x factor. Maximum protection occurs at a
distance of 2x the height of this tallest tree to 5x the height for good
protection. Anything beyond 500' or l0x the height will receive little
or no protection (see diagram).
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