What is a Windbreak?
Windbreaks are trees and shrubs systematically planted adjacent to fields, homesteads, or feedlots as a barrier to reduce or redirect the wind. Overall, windbreaks enhance aesthetics, increase land value, reduce soil erosion, protect buildings and/or equipment and establish wildlife habitat.
Six different types of windbreaks are recommended by Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery for protection:
Windbreak Planting Assistance
Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) West Texas Nursery (WTN) offers hands-on assistance to High Plains cooperators, with 160 acres or more, in the actual planting of multiple row windbreaks. Upon request of the producer, TFS WTN will meet with him/her, discuss the protection needs and design a windbreak according to those needs. Those willing to comply with the required TFS guidelines, will be personally assisted in the planting process by WTN personnel.
WTN provides a tree planter and fabric layer. The tree planter will plant 400 to 500 seedlings per hour.
Often WTN assists in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and/or Texas Department of Transportation.
In 1997, WTN assisted producers in planting 12 miles of windbreaks throughout the High Plains.
Landowners wishing to plant conservation windbreaks on their own initiative may purchase seedlings through their Soil and Water Conservation District or contact the Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery.
For the latest in windbreak information call the Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery.
Tree Planting Process
Fall site preparation...Field preparation prior to planting windbreak seedlings is vital to the success of the windbreak.
Site prep requires deep plowing, 18 inches deep, which will allow the soil to quickly absorb and store any winter moisture that may fall.
Two things result from fall preparation: it breaks down soil clods created by deep plowing and leaves the soil loose, which will allow for ease when planting the trees.
Tree planter...A tree planter is a tractor drawn implement. If the site prep is done in advance, 400 to 500 seedlings can be planted per hour.
Fabric layer...A fabric layer, also a tractor-drawn implement, is used to apply a black UV synthetic fabric, once the seedlings are planted. The fabric layer rolls out a 6 foot by 300-500 foot roll of fabric in about two minutes. The fabric retains soil moisture and enhances weed control for about five years.
Spacing...Each row within the windbreak is planted at least 20 feet apart. Within each row, the evergreens and deciduous trees are planted 10 to 25 feet apart and the shrubs five to six feet apart, to allow room for the species to grow and spread outwardly.
Misc...Wind-screens are used to protect the one year old evergreens against the harsh winds until they become more established. Rodent protection tubes also are placed around the