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Photo example of a windbreakWindbreaks are rows of trees and shrubs that protect areas from wind and provide food and cover for wildlife.

How it helps...

  • A windbreak reduces wind erosion, conserves energy, reduces heating bills and beautifies a farmstead
  • Trees serve a sound barrier, muffling road noise
  • Trees and shrubs provide wildlife food and cover
  • Improved livestock weight gains can be expected when livestock are protected from winter winds and snow


  • Air Quality
  • Profits
  • Soil Erosion
  • Wildlife


  • Plan the windbreak for at least the north and west sides of the areas to be protected, with the rows extending 50 feet beyond the area. However, don’t plant too close to buildings, roads or driveways on north and west sides or snow may accumulate in these areas.
  • Avoid planting windbreaks on the south or east sides of roads or driveways; the trees will shade the road and prolong icy conditions.
  • Consider whether the mature windbreak will cause a vision hazard for drivers.
  • Keep plantings at least 20 to 30 feet away from phone or utility lines.
  • A mix of conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs provides the best cover for wildlife.
  • Space trees 10-12 feet apart, and shrubs 4-8 feet apart.
  • Control competing vegetation with tillage or herbicides before planting and for the first three years after planting.
  • Fence out livestock.
  • Inspect the windbreak regularly to control damage.