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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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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Shelton, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Windbreak [Dustbreak] for Shelton, WA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live on a well traveled, dusty, gravel road in the Pacific North West and would like to plant a barrier to help control the dust.

ANSWER:

It looks like you are looking for a plant barrier similar to a windbreak.  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 are primarily aiming for dust suppression, the plants do not need to be as tall as a full-fledged windbreak, nor necessarily as thick, but should pretty well follow a similar function.

Looking a bit further out from the Wildflower Center, I found a real gem of a publication from the WSU Extension – “Trees against the Wind – a Pacific Northwest Extension Publication”.  This has pretty much similar information to that recommended above, but with a distinct Pacific Northwest twist.

Mr Smarty Plants also has a set of recommended plants for Washington.  This can be sorted, so you can choose trees of a good size and/or tall shrubs and get a list of plants to consider.  I’d be looking for plants that the Wildflower Center recommends which are also on the WSU list. The recommendation of the New Twin-row Windbreak Design [Pg.20] looks quite workable independent of the size of your property, so for example – Of the plants listed, I also found these [or these very similar plants] on  the Wildflower Center recommended lists:
Dense Shrub – Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry), Lonicera ciliosa (Orange honeysuckle)Ceanothus sanguineus (Oregon teatree, Wild Lilac)
Medium Sized Evergreen – Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky mountain juniper)Callitropsis nootkatensis (Alaska cedar)
Tall Evergreen – Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine)Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce)Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce)

I think both lists show several suitable trees that can do well.  You can review all of those suggestions to see what appeals to you and will fit well as to size and appearance.  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

Saskatoon serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia

Orange honeysuckle
Lonicera ciliosa

Rocky mountain juniper
Juniperus scopulorum

Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa

Ponderosa pine
Pinus ponderosa

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