Windbreak Suggestions

greatplainsturf(6/7 OK)March 21, 2012

I've got a farm in the northwest part of Oklahoma. I would like to start an evergreen windbreak around the machine shed and yard area. I'm thinking some kind of pine as I think the needled evergreens have a more formal look. The area is in the wide open plains, surrounded by wheat fields, sandy loam soil, about 30 inches of rain per year although prone to drought from time to time, windy, cold winters, hot summers. In the past Austrian or scotch pine would be the easy choice. With pwn, those are out. What are my best options? I thought of eastern white pine but I don't know how it will handle the exposure and drought. Ponderosa pine is a possibility I guess, loblolly doesn't branch to the ground well, the one I'm wondering about is southwestern white pine. I've never seen one and don't know how it would perform. What do you guys think?

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

The problem with pines as windbreaks is they lose their needles at ground level and upwards of 10' I suppose, and then you're left with tall trees, only.

You'd be 10x better off with Norway spruce or another spruce you like. Norway is always the best choice in my opinion.

There's certainly nothing wrong with 'Green Giant' or 'Wintergreen' Thuja's, either. Wintergreen has a very soft texture.

Dax

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 6:03AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

You want a formal look for your machine shed and yard area. OK.

Dax is spot on in his assessment of your needs. My first choice would be Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Wintergreen'. These will also give you the formal look you are after.

Good luck,

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 6:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

in MI... farm wind breaks are a very big deal ... and there are both federal and state programs to handle such thing.. including in MI .. plant sales ... of small plants.. in volume .. VERY CHEAP ...

call your county SOIL CONSERVATION office [if any] .. which by definition is what a wind break is

if there is no such animal.. then call your county [where the farm is] EXTENSION OFFICE ...

and also contact your county Ag office [as in agricultural office] ..

though we would love to help.. i dont know why you are going to the WWW for this ...

and be sure.. to let us know what they have to say.. i am curious ...

my local offices have brochures on this stuff ...

in this arena.. small native plants.. are going to have the best chance.. to make it thru the lack of followup care ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:24AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Yes, in the state of Kansas, Kansas State University offers new plantings of native species about this time every year.I am sure one of your universities offers this same program.

They come in 4 inch pots. They will require up front care...watering and fenced protection until they are able acclimate and free range on their own. About 10 years to become an effective screen. Good deal if you are willing to wait for all this to come together.

If not go buy what appeals to you in 3-4 ft. size and arrive at a much quicker time.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:42AM
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greatplainsturf(6/7 OK)

By formal I mean consistent with regular growth.

The OK forestry dept has these seedlings:
Sabiniana
Taeda
Eldarica
Edulis
Ponderosa
Sylvestris (Belgian or French source)
Echinata
Virginiana

KS forest service has:
Nigra
Strobus
Strobiformis

What do you think from these options. I want a good looking tree on top of the windbreak. I don't know a lot about many of these.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 5:23PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hit the link..

and note the bottom sentence.. wherein it says:

OFS Foresters are available to provide on-site recommendations, information and design for new windbreaks and shelterbelts in addition to providing assistance to renovate existing plantings.

==>>>

its your tax money.. use the service ... see what they have to say ... and then lets see what we have to say ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 8:47PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

Nigra is a non-starter for you.

Pine Wilt Nematode PWN is hard at work in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Scotts and Australian Pine are its victims. I am surprised KSU would be offering this species knowing their vulnerability to this insect related issue.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 8:02AM
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texjagman(7A)

At this point you really only have a few pine options that are proving to be wilt resistant and can handle our environment.....Ponderosa, Lobblolly ( which is way to open a tree structure to provide windbreak ) and any Bosnian ( which very few are large enough to do what you want to use them for, and they grow very slowly )

So if I might add a suggestion you might think of using base varietal deodaras. They are full, fast growing, available in all sizes in our area so depending on your budget and need for instant gratification you can get them as large as you want, great at taking our heat and drought, and for me I think they are a beautiful tree.

mark

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:08AM
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greatplainsturf(6/7 OK)

I don't think deodaras are cold hardy enough. Some die from cold every year in my neighborhood just outside OKC. I've never seen any that far north.

Because the options are few is the reason I am so interested in pinus strobiformis. Can anyone tell me about this tree? Kansas forestry says its good statewide but requires more early care than nigra.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 12:03PM
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texjagman(7A)

Your call...Nichols Hills and Edmond are filled with them. I have about 12 myself. The only one that has cold burned on me in the last few years is my Feelin' Blue. It's never died, just got the tips burned.

mark

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:17PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

That seems strange. Kary Gee was just telling me about some older specimens they are growing (out of winter wind). That is zone 5b.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 9:59PM
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greatplainsturf(6/7 OK)

All I know is that last winter several in my neighborhood died including some large 20' ones that have been here for years. I don't doubt at all that in a sheltered urban setting they can do fine in zone 6, especially certain cultivars. I just don't have faith at all that in the open as a windbreak they would live past 5 years.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 11:57PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

"I just don't have faith at all that in the open as a windbreak they would live past 5 years".

Yes, they are to border line to invest time and money in when a harsh Winter could take them out.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:32AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

GreatTurf:

Let me know the accuracies of this link with regard to your climate.

Thanks,

Dax

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia: Climate of OKC and North of and West of

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:35AM
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texjagman(7A)

Dax, I'd say that's accurate. Oklahoma has always been known for its "extremes".

With regards to cold temps, two years ago we had two days at 15 below while this year we set one of the warmest January average temps at almost 50 for the month.

As for heat, many years we have a few days over 100 but last year everyone heard about our 63 days over 100.

So it can be almost anything, at anytime. To try and pick a sure thing, there is no such thing. From our extreme hot to cold temps, our rain soaking flood warning storms to our drought conditions which was finally lifted just last week after almost a year, we can lose a tree for a multitude of reasons. And that doesn't mention we're also in the heart of pine wilt country.

mark

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 1:45PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Thanks Mark.

That removes, Pinus ponderosa, Pinus strobiformis, Pinus nigra, Pinus sylvestris- all simply because of humidity/pine wilt nematode.

I was hoping the poster was in ponderosa territory, as that would make a good choice of windbreak. The other pines I'm not familiar with.

I'll leave to Resin or those of you more knowledgeable in your localities.

Best Regards,

Dax
P.s Pinus virginiana is not one that holds needles well and shouldn't be used as a screen-er. Edulis coming from a dry climate, I wouldn't use that either, besides, it grows slowly.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 8:40AM
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georgeinbandonoregon(z9 OR)

FWIW, pinus sabiniana is a natually very open (been called "see through") tree so not especially good for screens and while tolerant of very heat and drought it is likely not going to like (let alone survive) the extremes of heat and cold plus alkyline soil they might be dealing with down your wsy (its normally rated a USDA zone 8 tree at best).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2012 at 3:13PM
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greatplainsturf(6/7 OK)

The area these trees would be in northwest Oklahoma would be slightly less humid than OKC. It will also be significantly colder in the winter. I've never thought of OKC as that humid. Kansas forest service lists strobiformis as adapted statewide. I don't think OK is much different.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 12:20AM
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