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Best Shrubs for Windbreak

Shrubs are like small trees. Like trees, shrubs can also act as wind protection. They protect smaller plants and animals from the harsh, strong winds. Shrubs are ideal to use as windbreaks because they properly negate strong winds and allow soft breezes to pass. They can also be colorful and help you accentuate your garden. Shrubs grow in various environments depending on their species. With this, it is essential to know which type of shrub is suitable for your garden. In this article, we highlight some of the best shrubs for windbreak. Above all, we recommend you choose plants that fit the hardiness zone of your area!

Best Shrubs for Windbreak

Bowling Ball Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

It is a rounded shrub that approximately grows to 30 inches tall and around 30 inches in width. It is ideal for foundation planting or for low hedges to protect fragile plants from winter winds. The rich, green-colored foliage adds color to your garden. It also does not require pruning unless you want to shape the shrub.

When planting this slow-growing evergreen, choose an area that is highly exposed to sunlight. Water it regularly, as it doesn’t like dry soil. In extreme heat, increase the amount of watering to improve its chance of survival.

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Despite its name, the Eastern Red cedar is not an evergreen tree, but a juniper shrub. Its dull green foliage lasts from spring until fall, but the leaves may stay green or change to a brown or purple color as soon as the cold winter temperatures hit.

With an average growth rate, this shrub thrives in the worst soil conditions and performs well in various growing zones. Many homeowners use these shrubs for windbreak because it reaches up to 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide once fully mature.

Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)

It serves admirably as a windbreaker and works beautifully in Asian-themed rock gardens or landscapes. Classified as a pine tree, Mugo Pine looks more like a shrub because it stays on the smaller side. The dwarf Mugo Pine grows about four feet tall and ten feet wide. It is a drought-tolerant evergreen. This self-reliant shrub grows best in hardiness zones two through eight. It is also a bird-friendly species, meaning this plant can encourage birds to nest in it.

Plant this specimen in full sun. Mugo pine adapts to various types of soil, including rocky or sandy. The reddish to purplish monoecious flowers give way to glossy brown cones.

Dogwood (Cornus spp.)

Dogwood provides wind protection and adds interest and color to the landscape during the winter – branches on Dogwood range in color from grey to a bright red.

Flowers on Dogwood begin blooming in spring and then again in the fall and have various colors – from bright red to yellow.

All Dogwood varieties are incredibly adaptable to their surroundings, making them an excellent choice for windbreaks. They thrive regardless of where you plant them but require pruning of old branches at the start of spring.

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

This is one of the best shrubs for windbreak as it withstands strong winds and can also tolerate air pollution and a wide range of temperatures. The leaves of the Hackberry are shaped like spearheads with a small toothed edge on the top half.

Dark red berry-like fruit appears in the summer and turns dark purple in the fall. When planting Hackberry to block the wind, select a sunny location, as they do best when fully exposed to sunlight.

This tree adapts to all kinds of soil types, including wet, sandy, and clay. Once mature, these tall hedge plants can reach up to 60 feet with a similar width.

Blue Spruce

The Blue Spruce has a pyramid or cone shape and is sometimes referred to as the Colorado Spruce. Its horizontal branches are home to stiff green or blue-green needles that supply year-round interest to landscapes and make an excellent barrier.

This evergreen reaches heights up to 60 feet for the larger cultivators but as short as 25 feet with the medium-sized varieties. Blue Spruce survives in hardiness zones two through seven and requires planting in full sun with well-draining soil.

White Pine

White pines are known for their hardiness and are often used in windbreaks for open areas. The blue-green needles form clusters along the substantial branches, and the needles can grow up to five inches long. It grows in a pyramid shape and produces elongated cones reaching up to eight inches long. White Pine doesn’t handle road salt or air pollution well, so use in areas away from the road.

This tree enjoys well-draining soil kept on the moist side but also handles dry soil. Grown in zones three through eight, it reaches up to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide.

Additional Sources:

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

Windbreaks for Rural Living

Arbor Hills Tree Farm & Nursery Omaha

We provide the Highest Quality Field Grown Nebraska Trees and Shrubs – directly to our customers, at the lowest possible price.

Whether you are looking for trees for:

  • new home landscaping
  • wind blockage
  • commercial or residential

Simply select the tree(s) you want and they will be ready for pickup or delivery the following Saturday Morning. The trees are easy to handle and plant. Click here for more information.