Windbreak Understory

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Tasman, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. Tasman

    Tasman Junior Member

    Jan 3, 2012
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    Hi All,

    Has anybody had much experience with planting out the area under a windbreak.

    We own a windy 10 Ha lot in southern Tasmania. One of the first things we did when we got our property was put in our windbreak. It was not a successful project. Most of the trees survive but they have not thrived. I think its because they struggled for water, had to compete with grass and were in fairly compacted soil. Now its time for round 2 and we want to do a better job.

    We have fenced off a (new) area. We've just ploughed it with a mound plough. We're going to put in 3 rows of trees. A row of small trees to the windward side; we have in mind tea tree, dogwood, kunzea, Pittosporum(native one) and probably a lot more different ones once we visit the native plant nursery. A row of large trees in the middle; various eucalypts. And a row of medium sized trees to the leeward side; blackwoods.


    We're going to water the windbreak for at least the first couple of years. Its at the top of the property, so I think I'll put in a tank and some irrigation hose. Thats probably a temporary arrangement, though I might find I like having a tank on top of the property.

    We did not poison the area before ploughing and we do not plan to use poison in the windbreak. I'm anticipating a rather long and intensive effort to stop the trees from becoming overgrown (like our swale became). We we are wondering if we should plant it out with some kind of understorey. Desirable traits would be:

    Minimum maintenance - As I said I anticipate having to spend a lot of time there. But I'd like to minimize it so I can spend more time the inner zones.

    Non invasive - There is bush uphill from the windbreak and my neighbour runs a cattle property upwind of the break and lives in fear of weeds from the neighbouring hippies invading his property.

    Native - this is a hangover from our first design and perhaps we should rethink it now that we are going to water. So I'm not totally sold on the native idea, but for now thats the plan.

    Resilient - they will be attacked by neighbouring grass.

    Bee friendly - now that we have bees we'd love it if they loved our windbreak.

    Anybody have any comments? Random thoughts welcome. Help much appreciated.

  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

    Jul 10, 2006
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    E Washington, USA
    Semi-Arid Shrub Steppe (BsK)
    Not sure if this will help at all, but here is the summary of what my significant other designed and implemented for a local organic farm in eastern Washington State, semi-arid climate:
  3. Terra

    Terra Moderator

    May 16, 2007
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    Hi Tasman
    Good on you planting trees has been a real passion of mine
    I did many Reveg projects on the farm I had
    My farm was called Winndie for very good reason
    450mm rainfall sandyloam to buckshot gravel depending on site near Portlincoln SA
    I had great success with direct seeding however grass weed control is important in the first year
    My last project was my biggest 1.5kms long linking various remnant patches and a little wetland area
    4000 tubestock had to look real hard to find any that died terrific result
    Pic 1 is some of the veg corridor
    Pic 2 is another area a bit wetter

    First of all deep ripping is worth artificial watering in abundance , if done on contour and you plant end of may into the rip lines after rain , you wont have to water ever

    Even though you have a narrow fenced area I would make the effort to rip it on contour (many short ones) it will pay off 10 fold just lay the wire down and back back each time turn the ends up hill so water doesn't spill out , if you have to water it will be heaps easier as you will have no run off .

    Plant some local wattles they are great pioneer species and wont fail they don't live long but will do the job (fast growing) until the rest get going . Bottlebrush are really tough as well they flower for a long time . Melaleucas ect
    Look for locally endangered species as well this can help you down the track access funding

    Must remove weed competion in the first year somehow

    Lots of low ground cover types that flower design your selection to flower all year if possible

    Your understory question is best answered by your choice of species grow what you like and will enjoy and be proud of .

    Problem with straight line planting is nature doesn't do that the wind will tear down the lines , it may wash out , Pests will attack . Once you have enough diversity small birds lizards ect will deal with the pests

    My veg corridor
    The site was very well drained sandy loam
    I prepared my site by deep ripping on contour then scalping out the rip line with a grader (removes weed seed bank and builds a little swale ).
    Then ripped the bottom of the grader mark again and we hand planted our tube stock as deep as possible so the root ball in some areas was 400mm below the surface
    Years later the swales are still there the second year the grass stabilised the whole area its a jungle now .

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    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016

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