Wind may be useful in distributing heat and energy over the earth’s surface, but it also has a destructive side – soil erosion.

Protecting your property, crops or animals from southern Idaho's winds is a major concern. Providing protection from winds can increase property value and increase productivity. Windbreaks are a natural way to "temper" Idaho's wind.

A living windbreak is one or more rows of trees or shrubs used to block and redirect the wind. The wind is "lifted" up and over, creating a protected area where wind speeds are drastically reduced (Figure 1).

A windbreak must be located properly in order for it to do the right job for you. Planting a windbreak in the wrong position can cause problems in years to come. Carefully plan the distance between the windbreak and the road, yard or feedlot you want to protect. Take into consideration the direction of prevailing winds. The windbreak should be at least 100 yards away, depending upon your situation and if there are other obstructions.

Other important concerns to prepare for your windbreak include ground preparation, irrigation, how many rows of trees or shrubs to plant, the varieties you need and providing protection for the young seedling trees from livestock during the first few years. With good conditions, you should produce noticeable protection within four to five years (seven to 12 years on dry land).


Planting seedling trees and shrubs is an economical way to put in a windbreak. Seedling trees are available from the Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Burley and Rupert. One of the soil districts’ main goals is to improve conservation in Cassia and Minidoka Counties. This annual seedling tree sale is offered as a service to the community to help improve and conserve our natural resources.

The seedlings come in bundles of five trees per bundle for a cost of $20, plus tax, and must be ordered by April 6, 2023. Begin planning now and get your trees ordered as soon as possible. The seedlings will arrive in late April 2023. Anyone in Idaho may order tree seedlings, but orders must be picked up in Burley when the order is ready.

Order forms, seedling descriptions, detailed photos, windbreak information and planting instructions are all available on their website.

From an East and West Cassia Soil and Water Conservation Districts press release