Scientist Bob Hathaway says four questions are usually asked about planting shelterbelts. Answers to these form part of the series of articles Mr Hathaway has written about shelterbelts.

• What are the best species to plant in my area and situation?

Salt-laden or very strong winds are the main limitation on what to plant. Otherwise you can grow almost anything. The situation and crop chosen also influence choice.

• What distance apart should shelterbelt trees be planted — within the row and between the rows — in a multi-row shelterbelt?
Distances depend on the species and whether the shelterbelt is an internal or boundary shelter. It also depends on how quickly the shelter is needed — “if it is needed yesterday you can plant closely to get the desired effect, but it is not usually the best way to go about it.”

• What is the best method of weed control?
There is no single answer to this question. All soils respond differently to different herbicides; different weed species require different treatment depending on their situation; and the tolerance of the shelterbelt trees must be considered.

• For poplars and willows, should I plant cuttings or rooted trees, and, if rooted trees, should they be cut back after planting?
Many people ask this question. Cuttings are satisfactory provided they have irrigation. Full-size trees can be planted in areas where there is some degree of protection.

In very exposed situations or where there is no irrigation, rooted trees cut back after planting give the best results — a more even line of trees with less tree deaths.

From Growing Today, July 1983