Plant Windbreaks for Biodiverse, Multilayered Protection

Agroforestry Windbreak Red Stemmed Dogwood
Red-stemmed dogwood added to a windbreak can provide an additional source of income for landowners.
Photo by USDA National Agroforestry Center

Mother Nature provides us with so many benefits. She feeds us, she gives us water and fresh air, and she protects us, too. Unfortunately, she can also be a powerful and destructive force as we have seen with recent hurricanes.

But this does not mean that we must suffer the full brunt of nature’s wrath. If we follow her simple landscaping guidelines, we can add additional protection to our home landscapes, lowering the risk of damage to our properties and destruction to our coastal cities.

I’m grateful for making it safely through a few hurricanes. I give most of that credit to the biodiversity of the foliage and the windbreaks surrounding the areas I’ve lived in. It was in the aftermath of all the devastation that I realized that coastal communities may not be taking full advantage of nature’s landscaping guidelines and benefits.

Nature’s Landscaping Lessons

Nature plants in biodiverse layers. This creates water and air filtration, helps control snow drifts, provides food and shelter for wildlife, reduces soil erosion, cools the environment and saves energy, and creates wind protection.

Our homes protect us from most harsh weather conditions. The trend has been for developers to strip down the landscaping nature created and replace it with individual free-standing trees, minimal hedges, and sometimes, if we are lucky, some low-lying ground covers. By doing this, we leave ourselves open to severe damage from the sun, water, and winds.

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