shelter belts...Starting from scratch

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8 years 1 month ago #520824 by jojokiwi
We've just purchased a 4ha block in north Canterbury and need some advice from those in the know about shelter belts and planning/designing your block

Because we are total novices, I'm thinking it may be a good idea to get a contractor to plant our shelter belts for us but I don't seem to be able to find anyone that offers this service.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

I've looked at tree species etc and while some recommend leyland cypress I've heard they aren't wonderful for stock....same for macrocarpa. So I'm kind of unsure what would suit our conditions. The other two shelter belts are established pine...not sure if they are great for allergies.

So any shelter belt favourites out there?

Thanks
:-)

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8 years 1 month ago #520831 by LongRidge
I rushed in and planted shelter belts and shelter trees. Now that they have grown, and before that, I've wasted many hours cutting them down. Our land grows totaras very well indeed, but not beech. Animals don't like totaras, and the only shelter that I needed were the trees that were already here.. I strongly suggest to spend a couple of years on the property before you decide what and where to plant. Sheep, cattle, goats and horses do not naturally live in wooded areas or forests.

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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #520833 by VioletFarmer
Seeing as you already have pines, maybe a mixed native planting would be an idea? Manuka, lemonwood, korokia, titoki, cabbage tree,flax etc. Lots of people will poo poo the idea of flax or cabbage tree due to the leaves they drop, but collected and tied in a bundle, they make excellent kindling! Also these plants flower profusely, encouraging native birds and all sorts of fantastic insects to your property. They will need water and a decent amount of mulch untill they are established, bit i think the beauty of the natives is worth it. If you can plant sympathetically to preserve your views, (if you have some into the distant countryside) take time to plan where to plant this new shelter belt. And lastly, manuka would be a great investment as you could have some hives nearby to produce honey :)
Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by VioletFarmer.

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8 years 1 month ago #520846 by muri
I would suggest you do as much research as you can before you start on anything,
There is an art to creating shelter belts which requires an understanding about how wind reacts when it hits a solid barrier - it usually creates a downward spiralling wind just as strong as the wind you are trying to slow down. So wind breaks can create more wind on the leeward side than is on the windy side
You are trying to create a wind break, not a wind stop.
To be effective, you should have 50% permeability, allowing the wind to slow down and pass through the break, thus breaking the wind as its name implies.
A wind break will give you protection for twice the length of the height of the plants, so 2m plants will give you protection for 4m from the break, 4m plants for 8m and so on.
There are lots of books on how to create windbreaks and probably google will have heaps as well.
Its a fun project to take on without getting in professionals, just do lots of research

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8 years 1 month ago #520871 by ManukaHoney
Hi there -
I'm in a similar sort of situation with a property with strong prevailing westerly winds and quite an open orientation. I think the key is not to over-do planting because you end up planting far too many things which may become a problem in the future. The key is to plan your planting and to realise that these plantings grow quite quickly! I've decided to put a 25 metre shelter belt of flax along my western boundary and then plant some manuka on the inside of this (manuka is my choice because I have bees). For very windy aspects you need plants that can cope with this...find species suited to your area with thick grey leaves or flax-type varieties. Flax, pittosporums, feijoa, karo, whiteywood, kanuka, native pepper tree etc.
May onwards is a great time for planting :-)

I'm Ruth, and I'm building an off-grid home on the beautiful Awhitu Peninsula with all my animals :-)

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8 years 1 month ago #520878 by cowvet
can you water this shelter belt you are planning...that's a huge consideration in Canterbury.

a Contractor makes diddly squat difference to survival if water is the key element for success ;-)


I love animals...they're delicious

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8 years 1 month ago #520891 by rider1803
Look around locally to see what others have in place - you can learn a lot from other peoples experiences and in your location - locality is key as you can get some weather extremes.
When it comes to trees choose the best you can afford in terms of how well they are grown - I have learnt this via experience. Planting larger trees gets a much quicker result (obviously) even fast growing species take a lot of time to get started.
Also shop around - trade me has some great bargains, with people growing some to supplement their income.
The first lot I bought for our shelter belts were $20.00 each now I spend on average $6-$8 for the same size (70-90cm) have planted some smaller ones (40cm) for only $4.00 each - the extra $4.00 per tree would have been money well spent but live and learn!

Confirmed horse addict.

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8 years 1 month ago #520894 by wttmf
Regardless of species chosen prepare the ground well. Ripping, soil test soil amendments etc. Trees will do much better, and if you are in a harsh climate, cold dry windy it will increase their survival rate.

$10 hole for a $1 tree. Is a good saying to keep in mind,

And buy from a good nursery, don't look for second grade on sale trees. They will be in the ground for a long time don't cut corners.

They will need water regularly when small, even drought tolerant trees. And the book might say frost hardy, but when small that might not be true.

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8 years 1 month ago #520897 by muri
I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is not getting some shelter up for the first lot of plantings. This can be windbreak , tall growing flaxes or something that will give the next tier of plantings some protections.
The second mistake is to buy already large plants thinking they will get established more quickly.
Larger taller trees planted in a high wind zone will not do as well as smaller plants with a smaller root ball which will be subjected to less wind rock.
Small plants growing up with the wind, will do better than taller plants in big planter bags that have done most of their growing in a nursery. Not only do they need to adjust to the wind but tend to get more damage from wind rock after planting - ie movement in the ground as the weight of the foliage is much greater than smaller trees and therefore more prone to being blown around.
Thirdly, some species dont grow in high wind, without some protection first so choose the wind hardy species first and then a second tier of less hardy plants that might offer you secondary benefits such as bird and bee fodder, fodder for stock etc

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8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #520898 by louiser
In case you haven't already found them, Southern Woods have a load of useful guides on their website , including one on shelter belts with a really good explanation of the kind of planting that muri describes.
Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by louiser.

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8 years 1 month ago #520909 by wttmf
Root to shoot ratio. More root less shoot.

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8 years 1 month ago #520925 by jojokiwi
:blink: so confused! :blink:

I've done some hunting around online and I'm really surprised that I haven't been able to find a shelter belt contractor to assist with the planting/design.

Does anyone know of a shelter belt contractor in North Canterbury or do most LSB'ers do it yourself?

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