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Plant Types : Shelter Belts

Taller than a hedge, a living screen can be created with a line of trees or shrubs. The term usually refers to a single line of plants of the same type, planted about ninety centimetres apart. A screen can be clipped back occasionally, or left unclipped if there is enough room.

A screen is used when a bigger version of a hedge is required. In urban situations, they might be used to create privacy, but a screen should not be allowed to grow too large if space is inadequate. Screens are more difficult to clip than hedges because they are taller.

A shelter belt is a more extensive form of screen. Although it can consist of one row of trees spaced about 1.5 metres apart, it is better with several rows of trees spaced about 1.5 metres apart, two metres between the trees.

A really effective shelter belt should have six or eight species suitable for the site and soil conditions. The number of each species should not be equal; the composition should be thirty to forty percent of two main species, about ten percent of two others, and the remainder equally divided between two or more minor species.

A mixture of deciduous, coniferous, broadleaved evergreen, flowering, berrying and autumn-colouring trees should be used to provide interest, better shelter and more food for wildlife. The shelter effect is between five and ten times the height of the trees; good shelter for five times the height, some shelter after that. Shelter trees also provide background greenery in large gardens.


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