There are several different types of trees that can be used for shelter. The one you choose all depends what you want shelter from. For example is it wind or rain or all the elements?
The best way to provide shelter is to actually break the wind and not stop it altogether.
Trees can also be used for shelter for all types of commercial developments and agricultural applications.
You can choose from different varieties of trees, either deciduous or evergreen. Deciduous trees can be more beneficial to wildlife than their evergreen counterparts.
Also, your location and the position of the site will help determine what type of tree you can use.
Here is a list of 5 trees that can be used for shelter.
Alder is a fast growing native tree that works very well in shelter belts. Its round leaves provide excellent shelter in he summer months and the whippy stems break the wind by about 50% in the winter months providing all year round shelter. It also provides an excellent habitat for birds and wildlife for shelter nesting etc.
The catkins on the end of the stems provide food also. Alder roots do not cause problems as they are not intrusive like other shelter belt trees. Alder can also be under planted with a hedge eg Beech or white thorn to provide further shelter.
Growth rate is between 2-4 feet annually
Poplar trees are often used for shelter as they grow at a very fast rate and provide a very fast shelterbelt. It has a very festigate growing pattern and looks very uniform when growing. Like alder poplar is furnished right to the bottom providing excellent shelter. The two main varieties used for shelter belts are the Lombardy poplar and tt 32 You have to be very careful with poplar as the invasive root system can cause problems with walls, driveways, drain systems etc.
Growth rate is between 3-6 feet per year
Willow is a nice fast growing tree that can also be used as a shelter belt. Its thin twisted leaves and catkins provide a nice spring and summer look and the coloured stems provide excellent winter colour. Like Alder and Poplar it grows at a very fast rate and responds well to trimming so can be kept at a required height and shape.
It provides excellent shelter to all wildlife, birds mammals and insects.
Like Poplar it has an invasive root system so care is needed when planting.
Growth rate is 3-6 ft per year.
Scots pine (Pinus Sylvestris)
Scots pine is a native evergreen tree that is normally grown for its timber but can work quite well as a shelter tree. They are normally mixed in a shelter block with other deciduous shelter belt trees rather than used as a shelter belt. They grow at a fairly fast growth rate therefore providing excellent evergreen shelter. It also provides visual shelter.
Growth rate 2-3ft per year
These cuppress trees also known as Cypress are sometimes used in shelter belts to provide visual shelter. They grow fairly fast and can provide shelter in certain applications.
They are sometimes used in formal gardens where they are clipped and on a regular basis and kept tidy and trim. They do not respond well to clipping back when re left grow out of control, they can be planted bare rooted or from pots.
Growth rate is 1-2ft per year.
Shelter belts can be also very beneficial to wild life. Birds, Mammals and insects can benefit greatly form trees in shelter belts. They can provide food and shelter all year round while also providing shelter to the local environment.