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We have a very windy garden (up in Newcastle upon Tyne), it's quite small and was a completely blank canvas when we started - we have been working hard to transform it but I hate to see all my plants getting completely battered by the wind.
I have just been reading about windbreak netting - has anyone else used this and how do you rate it? Or would you suggest a hedgerow as a more effective windbreak?
To the side of the house there is an area I could possibly put a hedge in against our boundary (timber fence and brick wall) although there's not enough room for it to be very wide. The soil is clayey and wet.
Any thoughts / suggestions would be greatly received. Thank you.
A hornbeam hedge would cope with wet clay better than beech and can be kept quite narrow to save space.
Our garden is exposed too and I have used rolls of split bamboo tied to the wire mesh fence as a wind break while my hedges get established but it does rot and break eventually so this autumn I'll be stringing proper netting along the fence to protect exposed plants.
I use lengths of rolled willow trellis on posts - lets light through but acts as an effective windbreak.
Box is also very tough and can cope with most soils, if it's something living you're after.
I used rolled willow once but it didn't last a winter - too wet and windy and it shredded or rotted.
Box is certainly tough and does well here in a slightly exposed part of my garden but it's slower than hornbeam and there is box blight increasingly widespread which will ruin a hedge. I have my fingers crossed for mine.
thanks for the suggestions everyone, very helpful.
I have been using laurels for my hedging.. they grow quite fast and can be trimmed to any size you want.. i saw it at Osbourne House they had it as a floating hedge. will try and find the photo.. it look amasing.. all the main big branches were on show.. and also they had it against a wall in the same manner.
any suggestions please for a windbreak that also produces edible fruit and or veg
How tall/wide/deep do you want it? Where do you live (roughly)? What kind of soil?
I have planted a row of black and redcurrants along the boundary of our fruit and veg patch. However, 18 months ago I decided to add a protection of windbreak fabric and they are doing much better, as is the rest of the veg plot.
I extended the windbreak along the ornamental boundary too and this year, for the first time since I planted it 5 years ago, our witch hazel was covered in blooms and no dead branches. I have also lost fewer plants in teh borders and a Japanese quince is thriving for the first time in 15 years.
It may seem expensive but investing in a roll of 1.25 m high windbreak fabric will pay dividends in healthier plants and better crops.
If you have the right conditions and want the height you could grow globe artichokes.
This is going to sound like a bad joke. My windbreak netting blew away in a storm, along with the wooden fixings. Make sure you have it fixed very firmly, and attached to proper fence posts, with a wire mesh of some sort behind it (net to face the prevailing wind).
Hedges are better as wind breaks if you have the space. Clumps of shrubs dotted about but supporting one another seem to make for better wind breaks than hedges if you are in a really windy spot. Hedges can get blown out of shape when they get older, unless you are cutting them back forever, and then they may not be tall enough for the job you need them for very soon. Clumps of shrubs look more natural, tallest and quickest growing at the back, and they don't look so bad if they get a terrible battering - but again you need the space. I'd go with a mixture of strategies if possible. We have found this the best way up here.
gardeningfantic: Love the idea of floating hedge as it gives privacy and yet allows other plants to get sunshine and space underneath. I am trying to do this with my bay tree.
You may find that your garden will end up more shaded from all the wind shelter measures you put up. We didn't take this into account at first, and planted too many things that need full sun. We have adapted the vegetable plot now, for example, by growing far more Chinese vegetables since many seem to be more shade tolerant, and most crops can be harvested quickly, before the big winds start for the year. We grow perennial herbs that tolerate or prefer shade too for the same reason.
The same seems to have applied to the flowers - if it is sheltered enough, it tends to be shady. I am always searching for that "sunny, sheltered spot" mentioned on so many labels. There are many tough but lovely mountain growing plants that will do well in windy sights of course. Don't assume (as we did at first) that they are necessarily good for a bare heath though. Quite a few grow in, or on the edge of mountain woodlands - but again these are good, shade tolerant plants.
Dinah, I don't have wind problem here, but the winds so far this year have taught me the trouble they could bring. I agree with you that gorwing more chinese vegs is a good idea. I have a Mizuna which stood in my veg patch for the whole winter. It had no slug damage at all. I had some in a pot since last November and they are still here, nice and strong, must be quite tough though. I love the quick harvesting as well. Gardening is a life-long learning process. Adapt and change and there are always prettier versions of plants out there, encouraging you to part with your cash! Serrated petals, variegated leaves..
Aym280, Mizuna, yes. Great vegetable, I agree most heartily, it seems to love harsh, cold, miserable conditions.