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Solutions: Windbreaks and Hedges

Wide open spaces are one of the things we like most about living in the Intermountain West, and yet there are many spaces around our homes that would be even better if we planted some waterwise native plants to create a low-maintenance windbreak or a privacy hedge. Most of our native shrubs and trees are perfectly suited to create a natural and high quality hedge for you. When browsing our online catalog, look for “Windbreaks and Hedges” under the Placement/Uses. Privacy hedges and windbreaks also create certifiable wildlife habitat, improve property values, stop erosion and reduce our carbon footprint. Estate Plugs™ are the most economical plant size to establish a hardy hedge in just 4 to 6 years.

Treeless borders

Can become a privacy reserve with Rugged Country Plants

Beautiful Native Hedgerow in Walla Walla, Washington - 16" precipitation and no additional irrigation.

Following are some pictures of a single row privacy hedge that two of us planted in just about 5 manhours total:

It took Levi two hours to lay the ground cloth (4’ x 300’) and shovel soil over the edges. The soil had been rototilled a couple weeks earlier. The soil has good moisture even though the surface is dusty. You do not have to use weed barrier, but you will have to control weeds for your planting to be successful.
After writing the plant code with chalk on the weed barrier where each plant will go, Rebecca cuts and “X” with 2 inch long slices.
Using a 18 inch long piece of muffler pipe a 6” deep plug of soil can be removed. This method really speeds the planting process, but it will only work in soil with no rocks and you have to be careful to get the right size pipe to fit the Estate Plug™ size. You can also use a shovel.
The Estate Plug™ is gently inserted so that roots are not damaged and making sure not to leave any air gap at the bottom of the hole. More detail: How to Plant Your Seedlings.
Water deeply at planting time.
It took about 5 manhours to plant this 300 ft long hedge (not including soil preparation. So you see, there are some fast and easy methods to get native plants working for you and with Rugged Country Plants Estate Plugs™ it is very economical.
Tools and Materials

Shopping & Tool List

  1. Weed barrier (optional)
  2. Weed barrier staples (optional)
  3. Utility knife
  4. Shovel
  5. Muffler pipe (optional)
  6. Steel rod to clear muffler pipe of soil (optional)
  7. Sledge hammer (optional)
  8. Water
  9. Planting Plan
  10. Rugged Country Plants

There are many fine publications on how to design windbreaks and hedges. Click on the below links to two of the better articles.

Windbreak Benefits and Design

Mike Kuhns, State Extension Forester. NR/FF/005 Utah State University Extension. This fact sheet gives an overview on the use of tree and shrub windbreaks. It describes the many benefits of windbreaks and goes over important aspects of windbreak design.

How Windbreaks Work

University of Nebraska Extension EC1736

If you have questions or suggestions for planting windbreaks and hedges, please email us:


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