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Windbreak advice and tips, please!  RSS feed

 
Judit Castillo
Posts: 10
Location: Catalonia, Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate,
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Hello everyone, I don't have any experience with windbreaks so I would like to know what you all think:

I'm in the NE of Spain, in Catalonia and even though my region is known for the northern wind (tramuntana), it's the Southern wind that we experience the most.
That is because there's approximately 1.5km of open fields to the south, with no windbreak whatsoever between the property and the fields.

Facing south, we've got 230m open, that need to have a windbreak. From those, 50m already have a low stone wall, as you can see in these photos:

this is the wall from inside the property

and this is from the outside of the property.
As you can see it is elevated from the road, and there are a few young leyland cypress that were planted in 2012. I would like to keep them just because right now, something is better than nothing.

The rest of the property is like this:
open field, again a couple of cypress are left there and I'm hoping to just be able to add them to the new windbreak.

For a bit of extra info this is the wind we had yesterday as an example:



And this is the yearly average:



On top of that, I'm not the main decision-maker on the property and it might be sold in the future, so I don't want to spend thousands on trees.
I might already have some useful trees from which I could take some cuttings of, like mulberry. I have also thought of willows since it is also a fast growing tree, but was wondering if their water needs would be too high in this context (we get really dry hot summers).


I would like to know your inputs, what would you do?


Thank you so much!
 
nikos pappas
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hi there, the wind pattern in your location looks similar to my farm's location in Greece. i have to cope with fierce northern winds, most of them during summer time (called meltemia in greek, we also use the word tramountana by the way. what i found usefull is planting evergreen bushes particularly privets (or else ligustrum). these bushes are fast growing, need a little water, can be easilly trimmed to any shape and are cheap to buy from a nursery. In a couple of years your windbreak will be 3 meters high, more or less. however the proper way to make a wind break is to plant first low bushes (like rosemary), then high bushes and finally trees like leylands to create a "ramp" shaped windbreak. this however will take up to 5 years or more to be fully established, depending on location and climate. the problem with hardy evergreens (like strawberry tree) is that most of them are slow growing. don't plant deciduous trees if you need your windbreaks to function during winter time. finally another good option (for summer time windbreak fences) is sea-buckthorn: relatively fast growing, something between high bush and small tree when established and good nitrogen fixing plant.
hope this was usefull .
 
nikos pappas
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this may be usefull
Filename: selecting-trees-and-shrubs-in-w - keckwright.pdf
File size: 679 Kbytes
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 625
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What problems is the wind causing?

If you need some fast protection, plant several rows of giant sunflowers, or sometimes called russian or mammoth sunflowers. 10-12 feet tall in 90-100 days.

This is also a good strategy if you need some quick privacy...
 
Judit Castillo
Posts: 10
Location: Catalonia, Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate,
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Thank you for your responses!

Nikos, your plan sounds really good and I am glad you mentioned seabuckthorn, I love its many uses. In terms of price though, the privet wins (a quick search gave me privet foor 1.75eur as opposed to seabuckthron for 7.50eur.) And I'm guessing it grows faster too. What distance apart did you plant your privets?
We have pistacia lentiscus growing wild here and I have always thought it would be ideal for a windbreak, but have had no luck with my cuttings so far. Also, have to research its growth rate. Do you have it in Greece as well?

Troy, that's a great idea! It's always useful to have a quick technique, it could also work well as a short term break while the more permanent one is growing.
The problems the wind causes are many, from drying out the soil, stressing the plants and vegetables, carrying away mulch or anything you leave laying around and also, it makes it very, very uncomfortable to work.
I just feel like I can't be developing the land and leaving it to the mercy of this destructive power! (It's definately in my cards to harness this power and turn it into something useful in the future).

 
nikos pappas
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Pistacia lentiscus is called mastiha in greek, in the island of Chios is cultivated for its resin i don't know if you have tried it is great (unfortunately only mastiha bushes grown in Chios produce resin, in no other place in the world, microclimate is a powerfull factor!). it is a brilliant idea to use it for windbreak but i think is a bit slow growing.
i planted my privets approximately 1 meter apart to create a nice, dense row. since you need to cover 200 meters maybe you could buy them in bulk and get a better price. the other option is cloning them. you will need a bit of equipment and more time, but is much cheaper. i think that paying about 200 euros to solve (or at least greatly reduce) your problem is not that big cost and also the value of the property is increased with a nice windbreak (not to mention the wildlife habitat created, especially for birds).
also keep in mind that sea buckthorns are deciduous and most species have thorns (which is not a bad thing sometimes).
windbreaks are great assets in any garden/plot/farm. i ll post some pictures of my windbreaks when possible to give you an idea.
 
eric koperek
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TO: Judit Castillo
FROM: Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT: Windbreaks for Semi-Arid Climates
DATE: PM 2:35 Sunday 22 May 2016
TEXT:

1. If you want a low cost, fast windbreak plant PAMPAS grass. There are many species available and seed is cheap.

2. Plant pampas grass in strips 1 to 2 feet wide every 50 feet across your land for maximum wind protection.

3. Windbreaks spaced farther than 150 feet apart are ineffective.

4. Plant windbreaks perpendicular = at right angle to prevailing winds.

5. Windbreaks do not have to be tall in order to be effective. Most important is crop height.

6. Windbreaks do not have to be alive. Snow fencing, burlap, or brush are commonly used as windbreaks. Old corn stalks can be used to make windbreaks.

7. Windbreaks do not have to protect entire fields. You can erect windbreaks around individual plants or groups = hills of plants. This is commonly done in arid areas.

8. Small plants and seedlings can be protected by large flat rocks set on edge. Face rocks in a L or V = chevron pattern facing prevailing winds.

9. Rocks make good barriers to wind and water erosion. Dump baskets of rocks to make low bunds = walls = curbs = lines of stones about 6 to 8 inches high. Follow land contours. Space rock lines not further than 50 feet apart. Lines of rocks can be connected by perpendicular bunds to make boxes = squares across the land. Individual boxes can be as small as 1 yard = 1 meter square if necessary and you have lots of rocks. Seen from above, lines of stones look like "waffles" hence the term "waffle garden". Waffled fields are ideal for forage plants and small grains. Rocks provide sheltered micro-climate for pasture and crops. Plants near rocks grow most vigorously.

10. Note that rocks make good mulch regardless of climate. Soil under rocks stays cool and moist. Rocks can be any kind, size or shape. Place fertilizer, manure, compost, or other soil amendments underneath rock mulch.

11. If you do not own the land and do not have long-term lease rights then it makes no sense to invest much money in agricultural improvements. Do not buy trees or shrubs from commercial nurseries. Propagate your own planting materials. Set up a nursery in your own garden. Use native species that grow well in your area.

12. "Mastic" = Mastiha (Greek) = Pistacia lentiscus grows widely throughout the Mediterranean basin. ALL mastic trees produce "balsam" not resin. Mastic balsam is used as a cheap substitute for more costly frankincense. Mastic balsam has a conifer-like incense fragrance. Commercial mastic plantations occur at many sites other than the island of Chios, for example southern France and Sicily. Balsam can be harvested from wild mastic trees anywhere in the Mediterranean. Mastic balsam is anti-septic and often used as a first-aid cream for treatment of minor wounds on humans and animals. My family have traded balsams and resins since the 12th century so we have long experience with mastic which is often used to adulterate frankincense and myrrh.

13. Growth rate of any windbreak species is highly dependent on soil moisture. In a dry Mediterranean climate like yours IRRIGATION is essential or your windbreak plants will grow poorly or die. Develop your water sources first, before you plant.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment.

 
nikos pappas
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From Wikipedia:
Pistacia lentiscus (also mastic; Greek: μαστίχα mastíkha ) is a dioecious evergreen shrub or small tree of the pistacio genus growing up to 4 m (13 ft) tall which is cultivated for its aromatic resin, mainly on the Greek island of Chios
Pistacia lentiscus is native throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Iberian peninsula in the west through southern France and Turkey to Iraq and Iran in the east. It is also native to the Canary Islands
Although the tree is native to all of the Mediterranean region, only on southern Chios is the mastic trees' bark scored to "weep" the masticha resin
The aromatic, ivory-coloured resin, also known as mastic, is harvested as a spice from the cultivated mastic trees grown in the south of the Greek island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, where it is also known by the name "Chios tears". Originally liquid, it is hardened, when the weather turns cold, into drops or patties of hard, brittle, translucent resin

Planting windbreak fences facing the prevailing wind, in groups and not in a row will probably create "funnel-like" effects and accelerate wind speed.

Have a nice day
 
eric koperek
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TO: Nikos Pappas
FROM: Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT: Balsams vs. Resins
DATE: PM 8:13 Monday 23 May 2016
TEXT:

1. Basic Biology: The sap from any broad leaf tree or bush is properly called a "Balsam". The sap from any conifer tree is properly called a "Resin". The terms are NOT synonyms.

2. Perfumers class plant sap according to SMELL: Any sap that smells fragrant but does not smell like Christmas trees is called a "Balsam". Any sap that smells like Christmas trees is called a "Resin". Any sap that has no odor is called a "Gum".

3. The Mastic tree is a broad leaf tree and so its sap is properly called a "balsam". Because the dried sap has a faint pine-like odor, in perfumery it is classed as a "resin". Spice merchants trade mastic "balsam".

4. My Grandmother's family have extensive plantations in Calabria (Italy) where they grow bergamot oranges for perfumery. They also grow mastic for the incense trade. Chios is NOT the world's only source of mastic balsam.

5. My family have been trading spices, incense, medicine, perfumes, dyes, and essential oils since the 12th century. We know about mastic which has been traded throughout the Mediterranean since Egyptian times.

6. Wikipedia is not the world's authority on everything. The problem with Wikipedia articles is that they frequently are not written or edited by people who know what they are talking about. The mastic trade is a case in point.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment

 
nikos pappas
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Wikipedia is not the world's authority on everything. The problem with Wikipedia articles is that they frequently are not written or edited by people who know what they are talking about. The mastic trade is a case in point.

i believe the same applies to forums. anyway this conversation is beyond the scope of this thread, have a nice day
 
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