Can I grow apple trees in my windbreak?

The primary function of a windbreak is to reduce wind speed around areas in need of protection. If you are interested in having multiple species in your windbreak, apples might be a good choice.

  • Locate the apple trees in interior or wind-sheltered rows as their tolerance to wind is not as great as that of other species.
  • Place the apple trees closer than in a typical orchard, and plan for a reduced fruit yield, particularly if the windbreak plantings are not irrigated or fertilized.
  • Follow a minimal pruning program to increase air circulation within the canopy.

Often apple trees planted in windbreaks are short lived. Some of the causes of tree death include planting the tree too deep, overwatering or underwatering, being damaged by equipment such as bush-hogs or tractors. For more information about windbreak design, read this article on the Farmstead Windbreak.

Answer provided by Emily Hoover, University of Minnesota.