Plants to beat the wind


Trees, hedges and borders

In the Western Cape, our gardens get exposed to a fair amount of wind. During summer they have to withstand the strong south-easter, while in winter, the north-westerly winds get their turn. The first step towards protecting the more delicate plants in your garden from the wind is to plant a barrier of wind-resistant plants around the perimeter of your garden. Once established, these plants will help to keep your garden sheltered, while adding to your privacy as well.

Not sure which plants to choose? Here’s a rough guide to identifying wind-resistant plants:

  • Soft structure – look for tall grasses and reed-like plants. Their soft structure means that they filter the wind easily, without getting damaged. Try Cape thatching reed (Elegia tectorum) or common thatching reed (Thamnochortus insignis).
  • Thick, glossy leaves – plants with leaves like this are generally tough and fairly wind-resistant. Try coastal silver oak (Brachylaena discolor), bush tick berry (Chrysanthemoides monilifera), waterberry (Syzygium), wild olive, milkwood or dune crow-berry (Rhus crenata).
  • Grey, hairy plants – these plants cope well in dry, windy weather. Try lavender, lamb’s ear and wooly thyme.
  • Thick, scaly leaves – These trees generally cope well in coastal areas, where the wind typically contains a lot of salt. Try Norfolk Island pine.

Tip : Once you’ve planted your wind-resistant perimeter, remember to plant a hardy groundcover in the soil at the bottom. This will help to keep the soil moist, and will also help to prevent the sand from blowing away at ground level. Good groundcover options are helichrysum, osteospermum, gazanias and arctotis.

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