Top 5 Deciduous Trees for Windbreaks
It may seem counter-intuitive to plant deciduous trees in your windbreak, given that they have no leaves in the winter when they come into the most use. However, using deciduous trees in you windbreak provides you with shade in the summer and creates a more diverse planting. Having increased diversity helps prevent the total devastation of your windbreak should one species be impacted by disease or other natural causes, along with providing habitat for wildlife.
Ohio Buckeye - Aesculus glabra
At maturity, Ohio buckeye trees typically reach 40 to 50 feet tall and spread approximately 30 to 40 feet. As one of the first trees to leaf out in the spring, this tree will give your windbreak a push into greening up for the year. Along with bright green leaves, yellow flowers attract pollinators and hummingbirds. Come fall, the foliage turns bright orange, and hard seeds develop. Best planted in zones 4 - 7, Ohio buckeye is sure to provide some eye-catching color to your windbreak.
Kentucky Coffeetree - Gymnocladus dioica
Kentucky coffeetrees are unique and exciting species to have in your windbreak. The dark, furrowed bark will provide depth and interest to your windbreak in every season, and the persisting brown seedpods create an interesting silhouette against the winter sky. In the spring the leaves emerge, reaching up to three feet in length and small white flowers contrast beautifully. With the potential to reach 60 to 70 feet tall in ideal conditions, Kentucky coffeetree thrives in zones 3 - 8.
Greenspire Linden - Tilia cordata 'Greenspire'
An extremely adaptable tree, Greenspire Lindens will thrive in your windbreak. Bright yellow flowers in early summer fill the air with a pleasant scent, and the green leaves turn a similar shade of yellow in the fall. The dense foliage will provide shade in the summer, and the branches will help slow the wind in the winter. Best planted in zones 4-7, and reaching 50 feet tall at maturity, Greenspire Linden will adapt to whatever conditions your windbreak has.
Thornless Honeylocust - Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis
Thornless honeylocust is thorn-free, making it ideal for planting in a windbreak. Standing 60 feet tall at maturity, thornless honeylocust is an understated, subtle tree in the summer. Come fall, the small foliage turns bright yellow, calling attention to the tree. Small white flowers in the spring provide a light scent when blooming. One of the fastest growing trees in this list, thornless honeylocust thrives in zones 4-9, and would be a great addition to your windbreak.
Black Walnut - Juglans nigra
A tree prized for its wood and nuts, black walnut is one tree you should consider planting in your windbreak. Known for its longevity and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, black walnut is a power-horse. Seedpods give way to delicious walnuts you can eat (provided you can beat the critters to them), and the tree turns a bright yellow in the fall. Reaching above 50 feet tall, black walnut will be a tree that will survive in your windbreak for decades in zones 4 - 9.
Deciduous trees provide another source of diversity for your windbreak, increasing its effectiveness in the summer and providing necessary habitat for local wildlife. Each of these trees will thrive in your windbreak, so be sure to consider them when designing.