An asset to manymidwestern farms and ranches is the windbreak. Windbreaks are made of multiplerows of trees. Their effectiveness depends on their height and density; thehigher the trees, the better the windbreaks work.
Windbreaks have manybenefits. They reduce the amount of soil that blows away. They slow wind on thedownwind side for a distance of ten times the height of the trees. Did you knowthat soil blowing on a building can sandblast it? If you have a windbreak, thesandblasting effect won't happen.
Windbreaks create a more pleasantenvironment around homes and can hide unpleasant views. They can muffle unwantedsounds while still letting you hear birds. The trees provide a much-needed supplyof berries, seeds and leaves for birds and wildlife, while the dense vegetationprovides cover and nesting sites.
In the winter snow usually drifts aroundlivestock areas, homes and roads, and windbreaks can dramatically reducewindchill and decrease heating costs by as much as 25 percent. They can alsoprovide shelter for livestock. To keep warm, livestock must gain energy fromfood. A windbreak that protects livestock from winter winds and snow will improvelivestock gains.
Windbreaks also provide summer protection. Awell-designed windbreak will reduce wind speeds while allowing a breeze forventilation. Blowing dust will also be stopped. Windbreaks reduce crop damage dueto harsh winds and thus increase crop yields by creating better growingconditions for plants. Field windbreaks trap and retain moisture from wintersnows, and by reducing the speed of hot summer winds, slow the loss of soilmoisture. Windbreaks also protect gardens and orchards the same way they protectcrops.
These benefits and more can be yours with a windbreak. Windbreakssave money, beautify your homestead and let you worry less. So why not let themgive you a break?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.