Windbreaks Can Help Save On Energy
This winters cold winds and snow
that started in early December should alert many rural homeowners
to the fact that windbreaks are a good investment. Installing windbreaks
will help ease the wind's impact and leave fewer snowdrifts to shovel.
More importantly, with the increased costs of heat, windbreaks can
also help reduce energy demand. Studies have shown that owners of
older, poorly insulated homes could save as much as 30 percent in
heating costs with a mature windbreak.
Now is a good time to plan a windbreak design and be prepared for
tree planting this spring. The first step is determining the proper
design and location. Since prevailing winter winds are normally
from the northwest, the windbreak should usually be located on the
north and west sides of the area to be protected. Usually the most
effective design is an "L" shaped planting with two "legs" to the
The most protection from the windbreak will be in a zone about
as wide as 8 to 10 times the height of the tallest trees. In general,
windbreaks should be located 50-100 feet from the building(s) to
be protected, with 100 feet the most preferable. The most snow accumulation
will occur within the first 50 feet of the innermost row of trees.
Beyond 15-20 times the height of the windbreak, the wind velocity
picks back up as though no windbreak was present. When possible,
the legs of the windbreak should extend at least 50 feet beyond
the area to be protected in both directions to provide maximum protection.
Generally, three rows of evergreen trees with the trees in the
middle row alternately spaced between the trees in the outside rows
are recommended. The rows should be at least 16 feet apart and the
trees should be spaced about 16 feet apart on center within each
For more complete details regarding planting windbreaks, contact
your local University of Illinois Extension office.
February - March 2001: Hybrids
& Heirlooms | Put the Right Plant In the
Right Place | Windbreaks Can Help Save On Energy Costs | Apple
Scab & Black Knot