Specimen tree sheltered by High Hedge
A windbreak can make a big difference to a garden creating safety and an improved micro climate. After we reduced a large conifer by half many plants got flattened by the wind which was now able to flow over the shorter windbreak.
Top Windbreak Tips
- Hedges, gorse and natural planting will help break-up the flow of wind. Banked up soil with a hedge on top often features in large windswept gardens.
- Solid barriers such as walls can create eddies and vortex effects that cause more damage than they protect. This was forcefully demonstrated to me with lost greenhouse window panes after a big blow.
- Plan a first line of defence to break the winds full force followed by a second line. Design both together to be complementary. I prefer natural breaks of trees as the prime windbreak but for ground level protection I use smaller shrubs.
- In really wind areas windbreak trees will grow lower or be stunted so bear this in mind when planning the number and proximity of plants needed.
Mixed Shrub Secondary Windbreak
A good windbreak can reduce damage due to wind and also change the micro climate. It can make the garden a little warmer and more sheltered; it can help protect delicate flowers and leaves from windburn. A windbreak can have the added advantage of giving garden more privacy and reduce external noise.
The best windbreak isn’t actually a solid barrier. With a solid barrier, the wind jumps over the windbreak and comes down over the other side. If it is high enough, it will protect the garden for a considerable difference. Otherwise plants a few meters from windbreak may catch the overflow of wind which needs to go somewhere. Some natural windbreaks are not solid but, have small gaps, for some of the wind to gently breakthrough. Thus the intensity of the wind is reduced, without it being just redirected. For this trees and shrubs can be very good as the wind filters through their leaves. Thus an evergreen hawthorn hedge can be a very good windbreak.
The problem with deciduous trees is that in the winter, when they lose their leaves the effectiveness of the windbreak is reduced, – perhaps when you need it most.
Some commercial windbreaks are made from entwining sticks. They are attractive and blend easily into garden, but, also have those gaps useful for letting some wind through.