Easy Temporary Windbreak

Spring time weather provides a not so gentle reminder of two of our farm's biggest challenges. We have fertile soil, but we have some low-laying areas that are often wet (click here to read about our picks for planting in those areas). We also have strong winds at the front and back ends of summer. 

To improve the growing conditions for small plants and annuals, I'm installing some temporary windbreak fencing on 7-foot t-posts and planting some larger trees and shrubs that are wet site tolerant for those borders of the flower beds where the land gets soggy and the wind comes sweeping in. 

This temporary windbreak plan comes to us from our friend, Kate Rowe, at Aztec Dahlias. (If you are still in the market for some tubers, you'll want to check out their astounding collection.) A corner of their dahlia field takes a strong wind and they needed to provide some protection to the plants. They installed 7ft t-posts with five-foot-tall 2-inch by 4-inch metal fencing and wind break fabric to cut down on the wind. Attach the fencing to the t-posts with metal t-post clips  (you'll need a pair of pliers).

Aztec Dahlias set their fence posts every 7 feet and designed the fence so that it wraps around a corner and takes the wind at that corner point (instead of trying to block the wind straight on with a linear design). Posts could be set at closer intervals if you're worried. We'll be placing them every 5 or 6 feet due to heavy snow that is sure to pile up on the other side of our fence. Because the field in question for us is close to neighboring property that is not ours, we might have to place the posts in a rounder arch design or as a linear fence, instead of in a "corner" plan.

On the "calm" side of the fence we'll plant our wet-site tolerant natural windbreak. When it is finished growing in, and we're confident that it can handle the direct hit of those winter storms and spring/fall winds, we'll take down the temporary windbreak fence. Or maybe not-- it might be too good to part with!

Thank you, Kate, for sharing your fencing design with us! We're excited to try it out.