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Trees and Shrubs : Shelter

The effects of salt-laden gales

The effects of salt-laden gales

Trees and shrubs are relatively tall plants and, therefore, prone to wind damage – Ireland has a very windy climate! Western and southern coastal areas suffer particularly from strong gales. Eastern and northern areas often get cold, dry winds in spring. The midlands, being flat, can be very windy too.

In exposed gardens, shelter is the first essential. Even where exposure is not great, trees and shrubs grow better with some shelter. Certain species of trees and shrubs tolerate strong winds and even salty gales. These species can be used to protect their more finicky cousins. Young plants especially need protection, but it must be remembered that too much shelter makes a garden cold and dark.

A useful shelter effect is achieved for a distance of 10 times the height of the shelter. In a very exposed situation, consider using artificial shelter to allow natural shelter to become established. Porous wooden fencing, or plastic netting, can be used to reduce wind – not to block it.

Solid windbreaks can increase the problem by forcing wind upwards, only to have it come down behind the barrier with even greater force. Note that these effects are often created around and between houses and, although the locality might not be exposed, parts of the garden can be very windy.

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