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Windbreaks

Windbreak
Windbreaks
Windbreaks provide a helpful and practical need in diverting the wind. They also add in keeping the apples on the trees. South Dakota is known for wind and no doubt it is great for wind energy, disease control, and other aspects, it still needs to be slowed to be manageable.

The only orchard windbreak that was here in 1984 was an old one row Siberian elm windbreak along the north property of the land and a large 7 row shelterbelt on the north side of the buildings.

The poplar tree were first planted to add the protection. Bolleana a white poplar, Theves poplar ‘Italian’ and ‘Prairie Sky’ poplars, Siouxland-cottonless poplar all filled the need, but the need for a lot of water to keep them alive was seen as a tree that needed to be put to the way side.

Our dad Newell Krause suggested that maybe the Elm may be best to just try out. His insight and practical experience of planting a mere 4 trees as an example was best served to relying on the Siberian elm as a good practical windbreak tree.

Windbreak
Poplar/Elm Windbreak
My experience at college also provided the need to take a further look at the Siberian Elm. A soil conservation nursery in ND provided the Siberian elms and a newer selected strain of Siberian Elm referred to as ‘Dropmore’ elm gave the added hardiness need to survive the winters and the hardening off process in the fall time.

Even Siberian Elms growing as volunteers were dug up by our skid loader and replanted in a 1992 wind break planting.

Conifers have been tried out, but the need for water is needed and the sheer wind of drying out is apparent.

The Siberian Elm, ‘Dropmore’, Ulmus pumila the scientific name has leathery leaves, and a wide stance in growing can give a very good wind break characterics. Pruning too can enhance the growth characterics to grow like a shrub versus a tree.

Herbicides though like 2-4-D need to be limited from neighbor fields and a good stance of neighborly communication is need to limit problems with the demise of these trees. The main deal though is the hardening of the tree off for the long winter and if the elm doesn’t harden off then winter will damage the tree. The damage isn’t noticeable until late spring when the tree seems to have a tough time growing.

Herbicide damage could also be attributing to the cause of the trees decline and is usually either apparent right away on the leaves or later down the road.
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