Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

More Shrubs Questions

Information on various plants from Alamo TX
November 15, 2009 - Have you heard of the following plants: Butterfly Iris,Compact Nanpina, Red Dwarf Turks? I would like to know some details on the above plant: size, flowers?, drought tolerant, where to plant Thanki...
view the full question and answer

Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
June 25, 2009 - Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain a...
view the full question and answer

Shrub or Vine for NH Slope
May 11, 2013 - I'm looking for a native plant/shrub/vine that can be used to control erosion on a relatively steep slope in New Hampshire. Do you know of any?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
May 08, 2012 - What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.