Windbreak Trees For Coastal Gardens

There are many benefits to living on the coast – wonderful views, fresh air, easy access to seaweed, driftwood and other such natural resources. But coastal gardening can also present its challenges. One of the main challenges for many coastal gardeners is the salt-laden sea winds. The best solution is to create a wind-filtering, protective barrier of trees and shrubs that will reduce the strength and chill-factor of prevailing winds. Such a windbreak will allow you to grow a much wider range of plants in the rest of your garden. Windbreak trees will form the main structure of the windbreak and these can be inter-planted with tolerant shrubs. Here are some of the trees that could be useful for this purpose, whether you live in the balmy south or on a more chilly coastline further north:

Common AlderCommon Alder (Alnus glutinosa)

Common alder is a deciduous tree. It will grow to an eventual height of up to 25m and will have a spread at maturity of 4-8m. The alder will grow well in a range of soil types and situations but it is particularly prized for being good in wet conditions and can be used in land reclamation.

HornbeamHornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

Hornbeam will grow into a large deciduous tree though can easily be kept to a smaller size. As trees, hornbeams can provide protection from coastal winds in areas with moist but well-drained or well-drained soil. Hornbeam can also be made into a hedge for a more neat and formal look and could be a good alternative to beech hedges in coastal locations.

HawthornHawthorn (Crataegus)

For smaller coastal gardens, large trees may not fit the bill. In such situations, small trees such as hawthorn may be a good option. Hawthorn trees will grow to an eventual height of 4-8m if their growth is left unchecked, though it should be noted that they can grow to a width of over 8m. Hawthorn is often best utilised as part of a mixed, wild, windbreak hedge.

Oak tree in autumnOaks (Various)

Oaks are a favourite with many gardeners and fortunately, these sturdy and dependable trees will work well for a windbreak for a coastal garden. Common oak (Quercus robar), turkey oak (Quercus cerris), sessile oak (Quercus petraea) and holm oak (Quercus ilex) are all options for coastal gardens. The benefit of the last of these, holm oak, is that this is an evergreen and so will provide more protection from the wind year round.

Pinus mugoPines (Various)

Pines offer more evergreen options. For northern coastal gardens, dwarf mountain pine (pinus mugo), or European black pine (Pinus nigra) may be good choices. Further south, maritime pine (Pinus pinas) or Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) may also fit the bill.

Of course these are just some of the options, but they should give you a place to start when it comes to planning your windbreak for your coastal garden.