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Drought tolerant windbreaks

 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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Went to a nursery today and they had some loquats. I've read a little about these, but couldn't remember much. The guy there talked about their fast growth and ease of planting by seed so I thought it would be a good option for a windbreak. I bought one with plans to purchase seeds while that one grew up.

Sadly, I read that they are susceptible to winter winds (I want to put them to the north of the house for a winter windbreak) so I guess that's no to loquats.

Anybody have other fast growing drought tolerant wind breaks? I'm in zone 8 with hot summers and typically mild winters, with 3 days below freezing last year surprising everybody.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
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look into stone pines aka pine nut trees. top them when young to keep them from getting too tall and for ease of nut harvest. hardy to negative degree weather and drought tolerant
 
Leonard Barrett
Posts: 23
Location: Portland, OR
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Cercocarpus montanus...which I believe is native in some parts of Texas. Evergreen, nitrogen fixing...drought tolerant...grows to 12'+...slowwwwly.

For pine species P. edulis (Colorado Piñon), P. sabiniana (Gray Pine), P. cembroides (Mexican Piñon)...several others...

Depending on your rainfall ("central texas" is a tough descriptor to work off of, given the size of the state and huge drop-off in precipitation as you move west), you may be able to do Elaeagnus x ebbingei or Elaeagnus pungens (Silverberry).

I'd bet someone from your bioregion would have a bunch of other ideas too!
 
John Polk
steward
Pie
Posts: 7756
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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From my info, Cercocarpus montanus is deciduous, not evergreen. For a windbreak, I would prefer an evergreen, as winter time is when I most want to stop the winds. A summer breeze is usually more than welcome.
 
Leonard Barrett
Posts: 23
Location: Portland, OR
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John Polk Wrote: From my info, Cercocarpus montanus is deciduous, not evergreen.


John, I'm fairly certain that Cercocarpus montanus would be evergreen in a climate "with 3 days below freezing last year surprising everybody." It has an enormous range (much of the US west of the Mississippi, minus the plains), and if you consult the literature, you'll notice that its deciduous/evergreen status runs the gamut, generally correlating with the climate that the source is from.

And a few references showing that variability:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/natives/cercocarpusmontanusvar.ar.htm (A source from Texas calling it "Evergreen")
http://extension.usu.edu/range/Woody/birchleafmahog.htm (From Utah, "Deciduous")
http://www.lawyernursery.com/productinfo.aspx?productSpecies=Cercocarpus%20montanus&categoryid=4 (Montana, "Semi-Evergreen")

So I don't really think we're disagreeing here, but I just wanted to speak up to say that this is a plant that behaves differently over it's broad range. A reminder that it's really important to check our regional assumptions/experiences at the door with all of these great inter-regional and even inter-continental conversations going on on this site!

Cheers,

LB
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
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for a lower windbreak use Jerusalem Artichokes..but for a really tall one I use white and red pines as they grow really fast and then I put things around their trunks as they get tall to block the wind from coming under them..a good choice there would be lower growing evergreens like junipers and yews..

If you want a fast edible windbreak go with the thorney berries like buffalo, hawthorn, sea buckthorn, raspb, blackb, rose, etc..you can put them below a taller spreading tree as well.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1062
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
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for making a windbreak
does one think it would be more effective to plant according to planned and properly spaced rows or to have a variety of trees interplanted in a strip of a certain width with no rows or anything?
i would assume that rows do a better job by creating a wall of sorts
planting multiple types of plants and trees will likely provide the best drought fighting conditions as well, and the goal, it seems is to create a thick mulch that holds water for your windbreak and removes any need to water
this would also include different root depths and when doing evergreens, not just one type of evergreen but multiple and in the other rows possibly some deciduous trees to drop their leaves for the aforementioned mulch
then some shrubbery to block wind that passes through the lower branches and to keep even more of the soil active, i have seen one with shrubbery on both sides of the windbreak for this purpose, seems to make some good sense to me...
it seems to me that if possible it is best to have all seven layers of a food forest within your windbreak, this may also prevent deer from killing young trees as they would rather eat lettuce and other stuff like that
and when young, the vining plants would act as squash do in a three sisters garden and keep the soil covered while the mulch layer builds
so to me, the windbreak is not much different than any other permaculture question, it is simply layed out in rows for the large trees and shrubs so as to be most effective at stopping wind.

i have mine planned out to have one one row of fruit trees, one row of evergreens and one row of nut trees, with shrubbery interplanted in various locations beneath the fruit and nut trees on either side of the evergreens
i have 6 varities of fruit trees, 9 varities of evergreens and 4 varities of nut trees in mine that i plant to skew the planting of to compensate for any gaps between trees and i will likely interplant many vegetables and other support plants with them while young
this is all just planned but i believe it will provide a pretty efective wind barrier.
 
Al Senner
Posts: 58
Location: southeast SD (zone 4b/5a)
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Devon Olsen wrote:
then some shrubbery to block wind that passes through the lower branches and to keep even more of the soil active, i have seen one with shrubbery on both sides of the windbreak for this purpose, seems to make some good sense to me...


Not only that, but going from low to high with your planting rows gives you more edge habitat for a more fertile ecosystem and allows wind to sweep over your windbreak rather than hitting a flat wall of evergreens.
 
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