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Shelterbelts need some care, especially in their earlier stages, to grow and function properly. Once your trees have been planted you need to water them often. Its recommended to water your newly planted trees, starting on the day they were planted, one quart of water every day for the first week, every other day for the second and third week, and then a couple times of week from the fourth week and on depending on the rain that’s been received. A steady rain that lasts all day and accumulates 2″ of moisture is much better for your trees than a heavy rain that lasts an hour and is 2″. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next day your trees would need water again with the heavy rain.
A well taken care of newly planted shelterbelt can look just as good as this site! Making sure that weed control measurements are taken into consideration can greatly improve the health of your new shelterbelt. Installing a fabric barrier around the trees is a great way to help retain moisture and help with weed control. You should go around the trees and pick weeds every so often to help reduce competition for the trees. Using chemicals on newly planted trees is not recommended!! They can and will harm your trees even killing them. You may plant grasses in between the rows of your shelterbelt if you so choose and I would suggest for you to look into a tree belt mix. Shown above is a great example where the producer went above and beyond on weed control. Shown below is what can happen to your shelterbelt without any weed control. Which trees do you think faired better? That’s right the top picture had 99% living rate while the bottom one had many dead trees.
Lastly another major overlooked component of your shelterbelt comes a few years down the road. Tree girdling (shown below) from the fabric will damage your trees and essentially starve them taking away key nutrients coming from the roots. In 2-4 years you will need to inspect your shelterbelt for tree growth and cut open the fabric to allow your trees to keep growing. This is often overlooked and can be a serious issue to the quality of your shelterbelt! The easiest way Ive found is to attach a utility knife to the end of a pole of some sort (a wooden handle to a garden rake works well) and you can go around each tree and cut the hole open 5-6 inches wider to allow the tree to grow freely! By doing these few things you will be much more satisfied with your shelterbelt for many years to come!