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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 2 sm (2)

Windbreaks are linear plantings of trees/shrubs designed to protect crops from damage caused by strong wind. Windbreaks help reduce soil erosion and increase crop yield.

Windbreaks have many benefits for farmers and rural landowners, and more than make up for the loss of the 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.

OMAFRA has many resources to help you with windbreak planning. Visit  the OMAFRA website to watch four windbreak videos on planning, planting, maintenance and windbreak successes. The 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.

For more information about OMAFRA’s resources, contact OMAFRA’s Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

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