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Horticulture 1000
HT1102 - Plant management 2 - Shelter
Cultivation Protective structures


Plants need protection from extremes of temperature, wind, light and water. Shelter is used to modify the environment so the conditions are more suitable for plants to grow successfully.

Fences offer excellent shelterFences offer shelter.

Shelter belts, hedges, or artificial shelters such as fences or shade cloth are used as outdoor shelter.

Ficus growing in a greenhouseFicus growing in a greenhouse.

Shadehouses, greenhouses, tunnel houses, cloches and cold frames all provide indoor shelter.



Wind damage causes physical damage to:

Wind also lowers the air temperature and increases water loss from plants (transpiration) and soil (evaporation). It can reduce pollination by bees and other insects. Bees find it difficult to work in windy conditions. Shelter is used as a management practice to:

Shelter belts

Shelter belts provide shelter in a continuous line for plants in an area. Shelter belts in the garden or for a commercial crop can be either natural or artificial.

Natural shelter belts

A natural shelter beltA natural shelter belt.

Rows of trees are grown closely together along the borders of a crop or home garden. Gums, poplars, willow, conifers and wattles are all grown as shelter plants.


Artificial shelter belts (windbreaks)

This windbreak is protecting young plantsThis windbreak is protecting young plants.

Windbreaks are made out of netting or plastic mesh attached to wooden posts.




Natural shelter
Natural shelter
Cheap to establish. Takes a long time to grow to a suitable height.
      Needs watering, weeding, and pruning. Takes up space so fewer crop plants.
      May host pests and diseases.
      May die.
      Casts a shadow so less area available for crops. Frosts can be more likely in winter with reduced wind flow.
Artificial shelter
Reasonably easy to set up.
      Less space used for shelter, more room for plants.
Expensive to establish.
      Mesh can tear in strong winds.
      Casts a shadow so less area available for crops. Frosts can be more likely in winter with reduced wind flow.

Effective shelter

Solid walls cause turbulenceSolid walls cause turbulence.

Solid walls are not effective shelter. The wind bounces up over the walls and causes turbulence on the other side and this damages plants.

The best shelter allows 50% of the wind to pass through

The best shelter allows 50% of the wind to pass through. This prevents turbulence on the other side and reduces the wind speed, so that plants growing there are not damaged. Wind filters through the trees and slows down.


Complete Activity 5A in your workbook

Key points   Key points

  • Shelter modifies the environment so it’s suitable for a particular type of plant. Shelter is used for sun, frost and wind protection, increasing temperature, assisting the growth of seedlings and cuttings.
  • Shelterbelts can be natural (plants) or artificial (net and wood windbreaks).
  • The best shelter allows 50% of wind to pass through.

What's next?

Go to: 6 Protective structures.

Cultivation Protective structures