I'm planting a tree and shrub windbreak to shelter my home in winter. What should I take into account in locating and designing it?

Trees for Energy Conservation April 27, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

First, the windbreak should be located upwind from prevailing winter winds. If most of your winter wind comes from the north, then locate the windbreak to the north of your home. Also, wind will tend to curl in around the ends of the windbreak, so it should extend well beyond the area to be protected.


For the purpose of blocking/slowing wind, you want a fairly dense windbreak, so have several rows of trees and shrubs and use different types of evergreens. A dense windbreak will protect downwind for about 10 times its height, so locate it such that the area to be protected is within that zone. If you are in a part of the country where snow is common, plan on there being a fairly deep snowdrift within three times the windbreak height, so plan accordingly.

You can find additional iuseful nformation about windbreak design and renovation online through USDA NRCS and at the National Agroforestry Center in their Windbreak Series.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.