Windbreaks for agricultural field

jimi jimi at
Thu Dec 4 01:07:05 EST 1997

Ron Wenrich wrote:
> TREEFARMER at wrote:
> > In furtherance of this particular discussion, let me throw out these
> > thoughts for input:
> >
> > In our own "agroforestry" operation we noticed this year, via GPS yield
> > monitoring equipment, that yields are reduced next to heavy shading
> > trees but not lightly shading trees like Black Locust. We root pruned
> > along the edge of the field, about 10' away from the base of the trees,
> > but I'm not sure that was a good idea. The main problem seems to be that
> > the ground next to the woods doesn't want to dry out which contributes
> > to a lack of growth of the crops. My gut feeling is that in wet years
> > one might be worse off, and in dry years, better off.
> >
> > Is anyone else dealing with this situation?
> I noted in the field next to me, the corn did not do as well during dry
> years.  It stretched as far as the root system of the trees.  It looked like
> the trees were taking the moisture from the corn.  I think you'll find that
> shade is more of a culprit than the lack of dryness.

The simpleton bulletin that I was talking about indeed depicts stunted
growth near the wind break (due to shade, not nec. chemicals from the
root system).  It indicates most of the benefits due to soil moisture
retention, but talks of soil retention that otherwise would blow away.

H = Height of Windbreak

"Yield will be up to 20% more than the original field (no windbreak),
more than compensating for yield lost at and near trees".  The total
distance considered protected = 10 to 20 times H.  Note that the 20%
number INCLUDES the space taken up by a windbreak consisting of 3 rows
of trees/shrubs (probably about a 20 ft. wide "hedge").


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