Hedges as Windbreaks

For centuries landowners have been using hedges to act as windbreakers for their gardens. Stiff winds can cause permanent damage to a beautiful garden, making the use of hedges as windbreakers even more important. While all hedges can act as windbreakers to some extent, a few hedges that are best for the job include:

  • Cotoneaster lacteus
  • Taxus baccata
  • Blackhaw viburnum
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Emerald Arborvitae
  • Ornamental grasses

First, Cotoneaster lacteus, which comes from the Rosacea family, can serve as a very good windbreaker. These hedges grow red berries in wintertime, white flowers in the summertime, and can grow to be very wide. In fact, they are often wider than they are tall. The foliage stays green year round, and they thrive in full sun conditions.

Cotoneaster lacteus can act as the ideal wind breaking hedge, as well as bring beauty to your garden year round. Planting this hedge around the edge of your property will block the wind from every direction, keeping your flowerbeds safe from wind damage. Yet this hedge will not grow high enough to block your view. This is one of the most popular wind breaking hedges for flower gardens offered.

Next, Taxus baccata, also called English Yew, can be useful as a wind break, either closely trimmed, or left to grow very tall. They serve as great windbreakers year round, because of their thickness, and year round durability. These evergreens yield a toxic red berry, which is dangerous if consumed by humans or livestock, although birds and deer have been known to safely consume the fruit from the English Yew. This hedge, though beautiful, may not be your first choice if you have small children.

Another type of bush that can serve as a great wind breaking hedge is the Blackshaw viburnum. This shrub is similar to the Hawthorn, except this shrub has no thorns. These wind breaking hedges will bloom flowers in the spring, which will turn into edible berries by harvest time, in the fall. These hedges make great windbreakers because they are durable and can grow up to fifteen feet in height and twelve feet in width. This makes them not only a great wind breaker, but a great sound barrier as well.

The Rose of Sharon shrubs, when planted closely together, can also serve as great wind breakers. They can reach heights that exceed eight feet, and have grown to be up to six feet wide. Rose of Sharon blooms beautiful flowers throughout the summer, and will flourish from pruning. Rose of Sharon can make great windbreakers because of their sturdy, upright form. A row of these shrubs planted shoulder to shoulder not only forms a wind breaking barrier, but it also can serve as a colorful privacy screen. At its full width, it is also a nice sound barrier.

The Emerald Arborvitae is a tall evergreen shrub that is also well suited to form a great wind barrier. This shrub has a dense growth habit, and has long lasting needles that also aid in breaking the wind. These shrubs require very little maintenance, and grow to heights of twelve to fifteen feet and widths of four to six feet. In place of lined trees, this shrub makes a wonderful hedge.

Last are the ornamental grasses that can also serve as great wind barriers. Ornamental grasses have become popular in helping break the wind. Most ornamental grasses are easy to grow, and reach maturity quickly. They work well with other plants, and come in many sizes, colors, and shapes. Their heights range from one foot to twenty feet in height, which is one of the factors that can make them great wind breakers.

Hedges can serve many functions in your garden. They can be used to divide up a garden plot, as ornamental features, as privacy screens, as sound barriers and as wind breakers. Not only are hedges cheaper than fences, they are also friendlier to the environment. On top of serving your gardening purposes, hedges also provide a habitat for many insects, birds and other wildlife.