Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version

January 1998


Published by University of Nebraska Extension EC 98-1777-X. Copyright © 1998 University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Windbreaks are an integral part of many farms and ranches and provide critical protection for farmsteads, livestock and crops. Unfortunately, many windbreaks planted in the 1930s and 1940s are losing their effectiveness due to age, poor health or neglect. In some cases, the windbreak no longer has the necessary density to provide winter protection. In other cases, overcrowding may have reduced the health and vigor of the windbreak, or the windbreak may have been invaded by aggressive sod-forming grasses such as smooth brome, reducing tree growth. Whatever the reason, many older windbreaks need renovation.

All windbreaks, even well-designed ones, need regular maintenance in order to maintain their overall structure and to continue to function as effective wind barriers. While maintenance should be done throughout the life of the windbreak, windbreak renovation is usually restricted to older or neglected windbreaks.

There are many techniques available. This guide is designed to provide a step-by-step approach for restoring the effectiveness of your windbreak. With careful planning and follow-through, renovation of your windbreak should lead to the development of a healthy and functional windbreak.