March 15, 2023

Windbreak - noun

Definition: A multi-row barrier of trees and shrubs planted to protect crops from harmful winds by slowing it down or diverting its force to higher altitude

Windbreaks in the Forest Garden:

Forest Gardeners establish windbreaks to protect vegetables and crops from strong winds and minimize the amount of topsoil and moisture loss. A windbreak also provides a first barrier of protection against pests and easy access to fuelwood and forage.

For a windbreak to be successful, Forest Gardeners plant trees that: 

  • Are fast-growing
  • Are drought-resistant 
  • Have a deep spreading root system  
  • Have a small open crown  

It is essential that a windbreak is not planted so densely that it creates a full wind barrier. This will force the wind over and back down the other side of the windbreak, with the potential to displace the  damage to crops inside the field. To avoid this, Forest Gardeners will usually plant at least 2 rows, with the smaller tree or shrub on the outer row used to guide the wind gently upwards.

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