A Short and Snappy Guide to Windbreaks

Why establish windbreaks?

Because they:

— allow gardens to grow without being beaten to death,
— slow erosion,
— increase pasture and production,
— reduce stock losses,
— protect plants,
— habitat for wildlife and insects,
— manage snow,
— can provide fodder, food crops, timber or fuel,
— improve work conditions.

Windbreak components

Height, Density, Orientation, Continuity, Length

Height: Determines protected distance downwind. Wind reduction area will equal ten times the height of the tallest trees used.

Density: Use as many species as possible in your windbreak. Plant them fairly close together, in multiple rows, to form 60-80% of a solid block.

Orientation: Make it perpendicular to the direction of the wind. L U E shapes work well.

Continuity: No large gaps. If you need to put a driveway through, make sure it crosses the wind direction.

Length: Should exceed the height by 10:1.

Good plants for NZ shelterbelts (especially in coastal conditions).

Feijoa, taupata, nz flax, tarata or other pittosporums, karaka, karo, cabbage tree, pohutukawa, ngaio, toetoe.
As always, choose plants that grow well locally.

Some taller native trees that can withstand strong winds

Totara, kahikatea, pukatea, toatoa, tanekaha, tawa

Theme song for this post: Gimme Shelter – Rolling Stones. Kept playing in my head the whole time I was writing this. Think of it as a mantra for windbreaking.


  1. […] You know how some things just take time…. or some spare cash… well we’ve been talking about doing it for ages but finally went and spent a coupla hundred on some NZ natives to plant around our fenceline. Not only will these little beauties make the whole area look amazing, but improve our soil quality around the rim, attract predator insects and provide a heap of shelter. […]