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Old 05-15-2013, 12:20 PM   #1
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Windbreak


I'd like to create a simple version of a windbreak. ( we cannot create a true windbreak with 3 rows of trees because of space) Anything will be better than what we have. I live in Iowa, zone 5 and am looking at planting a couple of blue spruces or black hills spruce, but realize they are slow growers. Norway spruces are highly recommended in my area for windbreaks but get pretty large. I have roughly 75 ft from my house but only 50-60 ft from my septic field.

I'd like it to look as appealing as possible, but obviously space limits what I can do. Any suggestions?

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Old 05-15-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Windbreak


Evergreens might be a nice addition to your landscape as winter descends on Iowa each year. As for decidious varieties, and assuming you do not mind leaves, maples, elms, beeches, etc. (depending on which will grow in your climate) might be nice.

Your septic leach field proximity is the only issue with any nice, deep rooted tree that is not invasive. Obviously the faster growing the tree, the more invasive the roots tend to be.

You might contact the State, regional or county arborists and see what recommendations they might have for you? Even with budget cuts, such departments tend to be helpful and they have an obvious interest in having you plant species that will be disease and insect resistant. Your library might have a list of trees for your climate as well. Where I lived in Central Illinois, two twin city arborists published a really nice tree guide with what their wish lists of trees for the urban forest in terms of street trees, windbreaks, and landscape additions.

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Old 05-16-2013, 09:13 AM   #3
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Windbreak


We can plant a few, but only a few evergreens. Ideally we'd be planting norway spruce, but their size makes it challenging with our space. They grow fast and do very well here. Because of the size factor, we then started considering blue spruce or black hills spruce. Smaller, just as dense, but a slow grower.
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:38 AM   #4
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Windbreak


The arborists from the twin cities I left sought to plant varied species of trees. No more block after block of Dutch Elms. A hard lesson was learned from Dutch Elm disease. I live near Lincoln Park and boring beetles have taken out many same species trees and made parts look almost barren. The hope is that by planting diversity in trees, one disease or bug will not wipe out the whole forest. Makes sense?

So maybe mix up your plantings. You are wise to be thinking about the ultimate growth of the trees and giving them plenty of room in relationship to the leach field, the house and almost as important, to each other. They do need lots of air circulation and sun to do their best.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:18 PM   #5
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Windbreak


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
The arborists from the twin cities I left sought to plant varied species of trees. No more block after block of Dutch Elms. A hard lesson was learned from Dutch Elm disease. I live near Lincoln Park and boring beetles have taken out many same species trees and made parts look almost barren. The hope is that by planting diversity in trees, one disease or bug will not wipe out the whole forest. Makes sense?

So maybe mix up your plantings. You are wise to be thinking about the ultimate growth of the trees and giving them plenty of room in relationship to the leach field, the house and almost as important, to each other. They do need lots of air circulation and sun to do their best.
Yeah, I'm pretty certain I'd like have some variety in the plantings. I'm thinking spruces, maybe 3-5 and then smaller deciduous hedges in front of those, maybe like some dogwoods or lilacs. I'd rather it look natural that a row of preplanned trees anyway.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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Windbreak


Dogwoods, if you train them, can have beautiful shape and texture and of course spring flowers. Will they grow fast enough and tall enough for what you need? Will they be dense enough for a windbreak? Will they survive without some shelter where you are? I honestly forget their tolerance level to things like freezing winds. I don't mean just their zone adaptability.

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