skip to main content
(308) 535-8080

Taking Care of your trees

Care & Maintenance of Windbreak Trees


Newly planted trees should receive no more than an inch of surface water per week during the growing season. Supplemental watering is not necessary during periods of adequate rainfall. Water no more than once or twice per week. Operating automatic irrigation systems for 20 to 30 minutes per day will cause severe damage to the root system and can kill the tree.  Overwatering is not a problem in sandy soils where water percolates readily. In these cases more frequent watering may be necessary.

Water Conservation Mulch Responsibilities of TPNRD's Certified Contractors


1. The Contractor will perform site preparation prior to installation of mulch if the landowner is unable to. The Contractor rototills tree rows at a maximum of 10' in width prior to mulch installation.

2. During installation, a slit is cut in the fabric and the tree is pulled into an upright position through the fabric mulch.

3. The fabric mulch will be anchored by placing soil over the edge of the fabric and staples installed where necessary for stability.

4. For maximum moisture collection, the mulch Contractor will push the fabric center down into the planting furrow by walking on it while pulling seedling trees and/or shrubs through the prior cut in the fabric. At this time the Contractor will also make an additional cut crossways to complete the hole for the trees and/or shrubs.


Water Conservation Mulch Responsibilities of Landowner


1. If the soil is very dry at planting time, watering may be done before and after fabric mulch installation to ensure survivability.

2. After mulch installation the landowner may periodically check each site or sites, especially during adverse weather conditions, to make sure that the mulch is secure and the trees or shrubs are in an upright position through the fabric mulch, and the mulch is down in the furrow.


Fertilizers are generally not recommended at planting time since most Nebraska soils contain sufficient levels of available nutrients to supply the requirements of newly-planted trees.

Windbreak Weed Control Maintenance

Grasses and weeds compete with trees and shrubs of all ages for moisture, light, and nutrients. This is important in central and western Nebraska and is especially important with smooth brome. Competing vegetation must be eliminated to successfully establish new plantings. Competing vegetation also can be controlled in an older windbreak to maintain a healthy stand of trees. Grasses and weeds between rows can be controlled by cultivation, mowing, or herbicides. If mechanical cultivation is used, avoid turning the soil deeper than three inches to prevent damage to tree roots.  A pre-emergent herbicide will control germinating weeds and grasses. This is especially important in the tree row where cultivation is difficult. The pre-emergent should be applied to the bare soil soon after planting. On established or perennial grasses and weeds, it may be necessary to use a contact or translocating herbicide.  A pre-emergent herbicide can be used in conjunction with contact herbicides, or can be applied in the late fall or early spring to control the vegetation. A pre-emergent herbicide also can be applied after mechanical weed control. Always follow the instructions on the label when using any chemical.

Gopher Control

Landowners who have windbreaks with gopher activity may use a burrow builder gopher machine for eradication purposes. The machine should be adjusted so that the artificial burrow is constructed at a depth similar to those constructed by gophers in the area.  For strychnine grain, bait is delivered at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per acre. For success, use the machine only under conditions when a good burrow will be formed. If the soil is too wet or sticky, soil will accumulate on the packer wheel or even the knife shank and the slot may not close adequately. If the soil is too dry, the tunnel may collapse. Check periodically to see that the bait is being dispensed properly.  For best application results in controlling gophers within a windbreak system, use the machine in between all tree or shrub rows and around the perimeter of the windbreak in the spring and in the fall.