Urban forestry offers natural solution to high winds - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Urban forestry offers natural solution to high winds

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Amarillo, TX -- High winds like today's are just part of life here in the panhandle, and the Texas A&M Forest Service is continuing its efforts to protect our farms and our homes.

"Urban forestry" is strategically planting trees to offer protection to homes and crops - in our case, protection from the wind.

We're no strangers to high winds here in west Texas - and the state's Forest Service offers a natural solution with windbreaks.  Windbreaks are exactly that - tightly planted rows of trees that shield homes and crops from high winds.

High winds can not only damage our homes and buildings, but they also strip away valuable topsoil - and the root structures of windbreaks help hold the soil and its nutrients in place.

"The main thing that windbreaks benefit is they reduce soil erosion," said Texas A&M Urban Forester Brian Scott, "Once you lose topsoil, it's gone. And so if we can hold that soil in place, then the crops are going to do better."

And while some methods are best suited for the farm, windbreaks have a wide range of applications, as Scott explains, "Whether it's to protect livestock, or protect crops, or protect a homestead, maybe protect a road from drifting snow ... the thing about windbreaks is they can be used anywhere; they can be used in cities."

Other benefits are more subtle, but no less appreciated.

"From an urban standpoint, lots of these feedyards and things are located near cities," explains Scott,"and so it actually reduces the odor as well. You know, it filters the air; it also filters the odor."

The Forest Service also offers free education for anyone who's interested in planting their own windbreak.

Brian also recommended a few online tools and applications where you can learn about planning, designing, and creating your own windbreak for your home or garden.

You'll find those resources at the link attached to this story.

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