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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Gonzales, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Windbreaks for Monterey County, CA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am trying to find good wind breakers for Monterey County area, very windy in the valley.

ANSWER:

Let me reference a previous Mr Smarty Plants answer that has some great references for the “what, when, where, and why” of windbreaks. These cover the basic reasons for planting windbreaks, their design, and plant selection.  As you didn't mention more than wanting a windbreak, this may help you focus in your requirements a bit.  A similar discussion was also done by Mr Smarty Plants for a “Windbreak for Eastern Kansas”.

Looking for plant lists for you to consider,  this page from Los Pilitas Nursery addresses California native Windbreak plants.  Mr Smarty Plants also has a set of recommended plants for Northern California. This list can be sorted, so you can choose trees of a good size and/or tall shrubs and get a list of plants to consider. My first choices would tend to be plants that the Wildflower Center recommends which are also on the Los Pilitas list.

Several reasonable choices appear on both lists including Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry), Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine hill manzanita), Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita), Ceanothus impressus (Santa barbara ceanothus), Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon), Mahonia pinnata (Wavyleaf barberry).  I noticed that few of the taller trees were on the nursery list, ones on both lists included Pinus radiata (Monterey pine) and Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf cherry).  Several Oaks and even taller trees can be found on the Wildflower Center recommended list. Pay attention to the range and characteristics of the species; that will help you make choices that will do well on your property.

 

From the Image Gallery


Saskatoon serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia

Santa barbara ceanothus
Ceanothus impressus

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

California live oak
Quercus agrifolia

White fir
Abies concolor

California laurel
Umbellularia californica

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