• Windbreaks are trees and shrubs systematically planted adjacent to fields, homesteads, or feedlots as a barrier to reduce or redirect the wind. Overall, windbreaks enhance aesthetics, increase land value, reduce soil erosion, protect buildings and/or equipment and establish wildlife habitat.

    Six different types of windbreaks are recommended by Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery for protection:

    Homestead/Farmstead Windbreaks enhance the aesthetics and increase the heating and cooling efficiency of homes

    Livestock Windbreaks protect cattle in severe weather conditions by reducing the amount of energy cattle utilize to keep warm, thus increasing weight gains and decreasing the producer’s feed costs
    Field Windbreaks protect crops and soil from wind erosion and moisture loss

    Dry Corner Windbreaks establish wildlife habitat, increase watering efficiency of adjacent center pivot irrigation systems, protect grazing livestock

    Living Snow Fence Windbreaks keep snow from drifting onto farm roads and highways, protect grazing livestock and establish wildlife habitat

    Wildlife Windbreaks create permanent vegetation with tree and shrub species which will provide food and cover for wildlife


     + Windbreak Resources

    These and other educational resources are available for landowners interested in windbreaks or creating wildlife habitat. They can be obtained by contacting the Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery.

    • Windbreak Types
      A brochure describing design and location of homestead, field and livestock windbreaks and living snow fences. Planting dimensions such as recommended spacing between tree rows and spacing between the windbreak and the structure being protected are listed along with examples of and additional tips for proper windbreak design.
    • How to Plant Windbreak Tree Seedlings
      A windbreak planting brochure with information and tips concerning site preparation, seedling planting methods, and tree protection and maintenance after planting. This informative brochure also includes a helpful pre-planting check list.
    • Bareroot and Evergreen Seedling Planting Procedures
      These sheets are brief but include essential tips that will enhance the probability of seedling establishment and survival prior to, during, and after the planting. Both resources include drawings and descriptions on how to plant the one-year-old bareroot and evergreen seedlings.
    • Wildlife Information Sheets
      Information sheets describing habitat needs, management, and land conservation practices for deer, pheasant, quail, turkey and squirrel. This information is geared toward individuals who are interested in conservation plantings designed specifically for one of these species.
    • Windbreak Information Sheets
      Windbreak_Management_and_Renovation (PDF, 801KB) Windbreaks_and_Wildlife (PDF, 509 KB) Windbreaks_for_Homesites (PDF, 712KB)



       + Windbreak Planting Assistance

      Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) West Texas Nursery (WTN) offers hands-on assistance to High Plains cooperators, with 160 acres or more, in the actual planting of multiple row windbreaks. Upon request of the producer, WTN personnel will meet with him/her, discuss the protection needs and design a windbreak according to those needs. Those willing to comply with the required TFS guidelines, will be personally assisted in the planting process by WTN personnel.

      WTN has a tree planter and fabric layer available for rent to assist with large windbreak planting projects. The tree planter will plant 400 to 500 seedlings per hour.

      Often WTN assists in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and/or Texas Department of Transportation.

      Landowners wishing to plant conservation windbreaks on their own initiative may purchase seedlings through their local Soil and Water Conservation District or by contacting the Texas A&M Forest Service West Texas Nursery.


       + Windbreak Tree Planting Process
      • Fall Site Preparation
        Field preparation prior to planting windbreak seedlings is vital to the success of the windbreak. Site prep requires deep plowing, 18 inches deep, which will allow the soil to quickly absorb and store any winter moisture that may fall. Two things result from fall preparation: it breaks down soil clods created by deep plowing, and it leaves the soil loose, which will allow for ease when planting the trees in the spring.
      • Tree Planter
        A tree planter is a tractor drawn implement. If the site prep is done in advance, 400 to 500 seedlings can be planted per hour.
      • Fabric Layer
        A fabric layer, also a tractor-drawn implement, is used to apply a black UV synthetic fabric, once the seedlings are planted. The fabric layer rolls out a 6 foot by 300-500 foot roll of fabric in about two minutes. The fabric retains soil moisture and enhances weed control for about five years.
      • Spacing
        Each row within the windbreak is planted at least 20 feet apart. Within each row, the evergreens and deciduous trees are planted 10 to 25 feet apart and the shrubs five to six feet apart, to allow room for the species to grow and spread outwardly.
      • Miscellaneous
        Wind-screens are used to protect the one-year-old evergreens against the harsh winds until they become more established. Rodent protection tubes can also be placed around the young seedlings to protect them for their first few years.