Did you know that windbreaks:
• increase crop yield, improve soil moisture distribution over fields and reduce soil loss?
• provide shade and shelter for livestock?
• minimize spray drift and odours?
• decrease the amount of snow drift onto driveways and roads?
• enhance biodiversity and wildlife habitat?
• can generate alternative income?
Windbreaks have many benefits for farmers and rural landowners, and more than make up for the loss of land they use. Fall is the perfect time to start planning for a spring planting. Here are some things you need to do to get started:
• Do a site assessment where the windbreak will be planted.
• Decide on the tree species you would like to plant based on why you're planting a windbreak and your site’s characteristics.
• Develop a planting plan.
• Confirm the number of trees you'll need and place your tree order. You can order trees through nurseries and some conservation authorities.
• Prepare the site by marking out in-row and between-row tree spacing, tilling, mulching, mowing and/or band or spot spraying, and placing black plastic mulch over the area to control weeds.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has many resources to help with windbreak planning. Visit our website to watch our four windbreak videos on planning, planting, maintenance and windbreak successes. Our free Best Management Practices book, "Establishing Tree Cover," provides a step-by-step guide for planning and planting a windbreak.
For more information about windbreaks and for help with planning a windbreak, contact your local conservation authority.
Jennifer Jarvis is OMAFRA stakeholder communications and marketing advisor
Key words: JENNIFER JARVIS, windbreaks, asparagus