Archive for Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Windbreak buffers home

January 23, 2002

Park and Brenda Colwell started up their farmstead windbreak in 1983 at their home near Reno.

Today the rows of Scotch pines, eastern red cedars, and Austrian pines have grown into a solid barrier on the north and west sides of the home.

The first attempt at establishing a windbreak didn't prove successful, Brenda Colwell said.

"My husband put in a row of redbuds and a row of Austrian pines, all bareroot," Colwell said. "Only four lived."

After that, they put out larger trees that were growing in containers. These were purchased from the state. Brenda, who planted all of these trees, said her favorite is the eastern red cedar.

"The very best tree in the windbreak is the red cedar, because they're hardy and they're good in the windbreak," Colwell said.

She plans to order more red cedars to fill in gaps where some other trees have died.

"The Scotch pines have been infected with pine wilt disease," Colwell said.

The disease spreads by a microscopic worm transmitted from tree to tree in the spring and early summer, she said.

Once the worms enter a tree, they multiply and inhibit the water movement, causing the tree to die by late summer or fall.

"I have lost 24 Scotch pine trees from pine wilt disease," Colwell said.

She sprays the red cedars for bagworms each year, and also sprays the Austrian pines.

As the windbreaks grew, Colwell kept records comparing her utility bills. The mature windbreak seems to trim winter heating bills by about 30 percent, she said.

In addition, the tree rows provide a habitat for nature. Colwell said it's a home for bluebirds, cardinals and robins, among other birds. Also, she has seen deer take refuge in the trees.

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