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windfarmer
What suggestions do you have for wind breaks?

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My wife and I recently moved into a home and are getting ready for this spring to start our planting. Unfortunately, the property is bombarded with heavy winds. I'm interested in making windbreaks, but I have not seen too much of this online with the research I have done. Has anyone implemented windbreaks for their home gardens? We have gusts into the 20's (mph) and subjecting veggies to this will only dry them out and or have them limp from the start. I'd appreciate any feedback, suggestions and links to what you might have implemented.Thanks,Matthew

Hi Matthew I don,t have much experience of windbreaks, only through what i have read. I think the main thing is not to have a solid fence as the wind will eddy over the top and no improvement will be gained. Glenn
More than a decade ago - i did a lot of research on windbreaks for a windy, country property. I don't have the details at hand now but can say - the county & university extension agencies had thorough information that included break-heighth & wind deflection patterns. If your property is large and/or country & you are setting out seedling hedge plants, you will want to protect them from hungry rodents. In addition to physical barriers, we planned to set up hawk boxes to encourage more local raptors to hunt voles & mice. The same university sources had specific specs for hawk boxes - about as much work as cutting & setting some tipi poles.  :-) I came to the conclusion that i wanted my windbreaks to be harvestable & good habitat. Hawthorne was one appealing all-around candidate - but occupies considerable space. Filbert nut tree hedges could be good on a city lot.
Hi Matthew,  A couple options, one living and one non-living.  I live on the very windy Oregon coast and not only do we have to plan for gusty winter windstorms (from SW), but also persistent drying summer wind (north). A common solution we have used for clients in order to make a permeable windscreen that does not create the 'eddy' effect you described is non-living.  We purchase knitted (not woven) shadecloth like that used on greenhouses, it comes in black, white, green, etc. and various density of weave-- I usually use 30% or 50% "shade" to allow air to pass through but significant shelter for the plants.  Build a simple frame of cedar, metal, redwood, whatever you please, it works best to "sandwich" the edges between 2 pieces of the framing material and screw tightly together with outdoor screws.  This will distribute the energy of the wind across the whole edge instead of just the fasteners (which will tear the fabric).  I prefer knitted cloth because if it gets a tear, it stops instead of running. The other solution, living, that we used was a wide row of bamboo, carefully planted with professional bamboo barrier.  We had to restrain ours because we were using timber bamboo, which is a runner, but we wanted to utilize the wood for fencing and stakes over the years as it grew... in addition to the windbreak function.  This was planted on the north side of our market garden so it didn't block the sunlight from our crops but buffered them from the drying summer wind.  It's now about 8 years old and produces black, gold and timber bamboo each spring and provides nice habitat for various local birds.  
Your solution sound like a good one. If not bamboo, then a conifer that will slow the wind. The timber bamboo is one of a gruop, that gets  up to 100 ft/30m & 12 inches/30cm in diameter.
I have a couple of wind breaks developing very well in the garden, protecting my main vegetable plots. This is a post of what it looked like at the beginning, basically some hessian sheets stapled onto wooded posts, then with thin wire running across from end to end every 10 inches or so. http://groundtoground.org/2010/07/18/the-garden-july-2010/ This post from my site is closer to what it looks like now, with the plan being to grow a hedge of rosemary and lavender to the required height and over time become a natural replacement for the hessian sheets. http://groundtoground.org/2010/12/02/coffee-grounds-in-the-garden/ There has been a noticeable reduction in the amount of wind that comes through that section now, and the plants are doing much better for having that protection in place.

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