Charles Barden with Tips for Wind Breaks

(Charles Barden) Good morning I’m Charles Barden with K-State Research and Extension Forestry. I’d like to visit with you today about windbreaks. We’re just on a field day here with the KLA and we saw some excellent windbreaks that were put in to protect the cows and calves as they were calving in the fall and in the spring. Whenever you can provide wind protection for cattle during the cold winter weather to eat less feed to get through the cold weather, and especially the calves will be healthier because they won’t be so subjected to the cold wind chill. Cattle will feel wind chill just like people do and that can really be a problem. What we saw on this property here was some beautiful windbreaks that were planted back in 1984. And they’re used to protect their areas where they bring in their cows to calve and to get settled in. A good windbreak, we need to start really with Eastern Red Cedar. That’s our native evergreen tree to the state of Kansas and a couple of rows of Eastern Red Cedar spaced within the row about ten feet apart or between rows about 20 feet apart, really form the basic backbone of the windbreak. If there’s space to put in additional rows, a row of hardwood tree something like a Burr Oak or a Honey Locust will get real tall, will actually help the windbreak quite a bit. The height of the windbreak determines how far downwind the zone will be protected. So, the cedars do the most, the heavy lifting of the windbreak as the backbone of having some taller hardwood trees help extend that protection area downwind. And then if there’s interest in wildlife or aesthetics adding in some flowering or fruiting shrub rows also help improve the low level density of the windbreak, help trap more snow within the windbreak and also provide some additional wildlife habitat. If you go the Eastern Red Cedar, they’re pretty much a bulletproof tree. But if you don’t want to use Eastern Red Cedar you can use Oriental Arborvitae, but they are also prone to bagworms that will need to be sprayed occasionally. In early summer the bagworms are bad and we can’t really recommend many pine trees for the main part of the windbreak because of insect and disease problems on our pine trees here in Kansas. For additional information they can go to the Kansas Forest Service website. That is www.kansasforests.org. That’s kansasforests, with an “s” on the end, dot org. Or call the State office number at 785-532-3300 and tell the person what you’re interested in and they can put you in contact with a local district forester who could come out to your farm or ranch property and help you design a windbreak and help you get the seedlings you need.

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