Many larger gardens benefit from windbreaks. If you live in an exposed location – either to wind, snow, or both, then a properly designed windbreak will create a haven of calmness and shelter, in which your garden – and your family too – will flourish. A sheltered location creates a micro-climate, which is an area where the seasons are a little longer, the growing conditions more hospitable, and where a greater variety of plants can be grown. A windbreak, or shelter belt, is different from a screen, which is just planted for privacy. A screen is usually a row, or at most a double row, of a single type of plant, and although a dense screen will have some effect on wind, and slow it down a little, its benefits will not be as great as you might think. A properly-planted windbreak has several different kinds of plants in it, to slow the wind gradually, and over a much larger area, than a single row of trees can ever possibly do.
Of course, a windbreak takes up more room, and it may not be possible in a smaller garden, but if you have the room for one, the space it takes up will be balanced by the benefits it brings. When choosing plants for it, Thuja Green Giant stands out as a number one choice for the vital core component, so let’s look at windbreaks, and how this fantastic plant can become an integral part of yours.
Thuja Green Giant in a Windbreak
- Fast-growing for the central core rows
- Tough, reliable and hardy
- Provides internal shelter as the other rows develop
- Needs no trimming to maintain the correct density
What are the Benefits of a Windbreak?
While it’s obvious that a windbreak slows windspeed, the benefits of that effect are much more extensive than you might imagine. Speeds are typically reduced between 50% and 90%, depending on the actual speed. By reducing wind-chill, heating costs in your home are reduced substantially, by up to 44% in studies. The garden is enjoyable to be in for more days of the year, a big bonus for family pleasure. Crop yields from your vegetable and fruit gardens will increase dramatically, as well as the quality of the crop, especially fruits. You will be able to succeed with a greater variety of crops, and any animals you are raising will grow faster and be healthier. Wild-life such as birds will benefit, from the increased nesting-sites, food sources, and winter shelter, as will many other animals and beneficial insects.
How do I Create a Good Windbreak?
A 35-foot windbreak creates a shelter zone up to 1,000 feet away, but since the effect is minimal towards the end of that range, the effective protected zone is upwards of 500 feet. So when locating windbreaks, plan on that as the area that will be protected. Find out where the prevailing and strongest winds come from, and place the windbreak at right-angles to that direction. If strong winds are likely to come from more than one direction, you may need a curved or angled windbreak. To be effective in preventing the wind simply coming around the planting, it should be at least ten times as long as the expected height of the trees in it.
A windbreak consists of several rows of trees and bushes, with taller ones in the middle and shorter ones on the outsides. Three to five rows are normal, and these are spaced 20 feet apart for the taller plants, and 15 feet apart for the smaller ones. Within the rows, taller plants go 12 feet apart, and smaller ones can be as close as 6 feet from each other. Perhaps surprisingly, the goal is not to create a solid wall, but rather a filter to the wind. Too solid a planting will cause turbulence, which can be worse than the original wind. 50% final density is about right, so plants should not go too close together.
Thuja Green Giant as the Core of a Windbreak
The two central rows of a windbreak are usually a row of deciduous trees and a row of evergreens. It is as that core row of evergreens, which is perhaps the most critical row of all, that Thuja Green Giant is the perfect choice. Only in the coldest places would another choice be needed. With its extraordinary rapid growth, it will itself create shelter for the slower-growing plants in the other rows, acting as a nurse to their growth. Its upright habit, combined with good width and density, makes it idea for the core of any windbreak, providing 365-days a year strength and stability to any planting. At 12 foot spacing in the rows, they will give just the right density for ideal wind filtering.
For a simple but effective windbreak, plant two rows of Thuja Green Giant, 40 feet apart, with a suitable deciduous tree as a row down the middle. Finish off with a row on either side of a mix of medium-sized evergreen and deciduous shrubs, preferably with flowers and berries.
You won’t need to trim Thuja Green Giant for good structure, so they will grow as rapidly as they can. In trials at the University of Arkansas, tiny starter-plants reached an amazing 10 feet in just 7 years, way ahead of anything else in their trial plantings. Before you know it, your windbreak will be looking great, and starting to do its job. The other plants will grow faster too, with the shelter it provides. Because it is free of pests and diseases, it will never need any special care, and after some initial watering in the first season, it will take care of itself. The plants in a windbreak all need to be self-reliant, naturally sturdy, drought-resistant and reliable. Thuja Green Giant tops the list in all those qualities.
So when you come to create a windbreak for your property, to give yourself the best garden experience you can have, make sure that Thuja Green Giant is at the heart of it – a choice you will never regret.