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Our experts have been planning shelterbelts in this area for over 20 years. Call us to schedule a tree placement consultation.

shelterbelts 1


In Chinook prone Southern Alberta, we enjoy days with warm winter weather but also must contend with the wind. Trees provide the shelter and protection necessary to make these windy times more tolerable. Rows of wind-blocking trees reduce wind and also heat up your home.

The best windbreaks take some time to plan but the effort is well worth it. Trees not only help to keep our yards at a more consistent temperature but they also lowering heating and cooling costs of the home. To see the most benefits it is important to plant the right tree in the right place. What are the best and hardiest trees? How should I plan my windbreaks?

Shelterbelt benefits:

  • Protect your home: reduce wind speed 20x the height of the shelterbelt
  • Reduce home heating/cooling costs by 25%
  • Create your own microclimate and provide wildlife habitat for natural pollinators
  • Create privacy and reduce dust
  • Increase your property value

What side of the house should windbreaks be planted?

Before you start planting, it’s important to map out your yard. Plant windbreaks on the north and northwest sides of your home where it gets coolest in the winter.

Planning a shelterbelt should include many considerations – location, wind direction, and which trees are right for you and your specific purposes.

Shelterbelts usually contain 3-5 rows, from shrubs, to fast growing trees, to dense coniferous trees, to dense tall crowned trees that maintain foliage all year. Depending how many rows you decide to plant, you’ll want to plan your species and the spacing between them carefully.

Designing a windbreak

Planting trees close together seems like the best solution for creating a fast windbreak. But, tightly packed trees may become a problem once they mature. It is best to achieve a balance of dense planting with room to grow. All windbreaks (except solid fences or walls) let some air pass through. Staggering different heights and species of trees can be very beneficial in covering areas from the wind.

If you’re planting rows of shorter trees, leave about 10 feet of space between each tree and 15-to-20 feet between each row. This is a guideline only- consult with our landscape designers to insure you have the correct spacing for the specific trees you are planting.

If you’re planting rows of taller trees, leave 15 feet between each tree and 25 feet of space between rows.

When you pick your plants, remember its ok to mix. If you plant rows of the same tree, you can risk losing your windbreak to a single pest or disease. Alternate between two or three tree types, its good to have evergreens and deciduous trees for a true dense windbreak.

Wind protection can also be improved by combining a row of low, dense shrubs, a row of medium tall evergreens and a tall row of deciduous trees or taller evergreens.

Windbreaks don’t have to be planted in a straight line. Curved angles are often more natural looking and visual appealing. It may be beneficial to work off of a landscape design for one of these naturalized windbreaks. Our landscape designers are very familiar with wind protection designs and can help to plan and execute the best layout for your property.

Windbreaks can be incorporated into an overall design of your property and can be very visually appealing in a landscape.

Best wind protecting trees for our zone:

Sundancer Poplar

sundancer columnar poplar tree farm ft

Colorado Spruce

colorado spruce 8-9ft

Tristis Poplar

tristis poplar 10-12 foot tree
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