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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Thursday - May 06, 2010

From: Ashburn, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Need to know how to plant trees to create a windbreak in Ashburn, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I want to know how to plant trees to create windbreaks. I live on a slope of a hill, the front of the house is steep and the back of the house has neighbors in a cul de sac. I swear I live in a wind tunnel. I got snow drift this past winter in the front of the house all the way to the front door to the back of the house all on the deck which was about 2 feet deep. I want to know what are the best trees to plant and where(meaning which direction) in the front and back. And to also gain some curb appeal. The plants cannot be too tall since the HOA puts restrictions too. I appreciate any suggestions. Do I very the height? Do I get small trees or large ones? HELP!

ANSWER:

Where Mr. Smarty Plants lives, snowfall of more than four inches is a rarity so he has had little experience with or need for windreaks. However, with a little research, I've found some resources that  I think can answer most of of your questions.

My first suggestion is that you contact the folks at the Loundon County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Their expertise and experience can get you on the road to a solution for this problem.

This site from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service explains the principles behind establishing windbreaks to prevent erosion and protect buildings and livestock.

This site WIndbreaktrees.com has extensive information about tree selection and design for windbreaks.

 

 

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