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Sarah H.
user 118802412
Portland, ME
Post #: 1
I have read a lot about putting up windbreaks to help block the winter storms. For example, it the storms come in from the west, plant the windbreak to the west of the house. How do I find out which direction I should build my windbreak? How do I find out where the winter storms are coming from?
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 582
I think that the prevailing wind direction during the heating months is wind coming from the Northwest whereas it starts coming from the south as spring kicks in. I started to search to see if there are high definition maps giving prevailing winds by month, but so far I haven't found any. Do we need to put up wind socks around our house to know for sure where to put wind breaks? I'm working on my wind break on the North side of my house, but I can tell the alley of lawn between the house and the windbreak becomes a bit of a wind tunnel.
Tyler O.
Greenbush, ME
Post #: 17
Careful observation and daily logging of the wind speed and direction help me determine where to plant and which existing trees to leave in order to create windbreaks and suntraps here on our homestead, prevailing winter winds tend to come from the northwest with exception of the occasional nor'easter. Its worth noting that we can have severe damaging winds from the south/ south west in the summer and its nice to have protection from those directions as well, (I left stands of 40-60' "sacrificial poplar" with 20-30' white pine, spruce, and hemlock to the south of the poplar in the southwest part of my property which provide a nice wind break in those months and the poplar drop their leaves to let the low angle winter sun into to my 1 acre suntrap) observation will tell you where your potential wind tunnels might form which you can use beneficially as summer cross cooling and for concentrating wind for wind power. I have also looked for detailed surface wind speed maps to no avail as well. Today we are experiencing an 11 mph wind with gusts as high as 31 mph from the southwest, but the gusts feel only feel like a strong breeze in the suntrap. Its also a great idea to use earth, buildings and other structures as wind breaks as well.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 978
Spruce is usually not a good choice for a windbreak. They tend to make very flat root sytems even over beds of rocks and other inhospitable ground features. They will be the first tree to fall in intense winds. The evidence is all over my property where I have had forests thinned (and left some windbreaks). If trees are on the ground anywhere chances are better than 50% that it is a spruce.
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,354
A good mix of species is usually a good bet. Depending on topography, wind speed etc. it's reasonable to design a windbreak that "lifts" the prevailing wind up and over your desired protected area and then "dumps it" 6 to 7 times the height of the wind break out into the landscape. For example, if you plant a windbreak that is around 50 feet tall, the wind will dump out at about 300 to 400 feet beyond the location of the windbreak, so think about that.

As Tyler points out, summer windbreaks are also really helpful, especially for shielding growing spaces. Summer winds can rob moisture and create structural stress for your plants. Even the USDA funds some wind break projects for farmers because it helps mitigate soil erosion (if you're into that whole "bare soil" thing:) and reduce irrigation needs.
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