If you live where wind is an issue, then you’ll want to make sure that your trees and shrubs can withstand the onslaught that can come with bad weather or serve as a viable wind break or barrier. This is for your own safety, the safety of your property, and to keep your garden and yard flourishing.
Below is a go-to list for planting suggestions of the best wind resilient trees and shrubs. Keep in mind you need to chose the right tree or shrub for your hardiness zone. For more information on landscaping ideas for trees and shrubs, don’t miss these articles: How to Choose Landscaping Shrubs and Landscaping Shrubs and Trees.
Wind Resilient Trees
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
This tree has many names, but is best known as Bald Cypress or Gulf cypress. It grows to be very large and is indigenous to the seasonally inundated soils of the Southeastern and Gulf Coastal Plains of the United States.
This genus covers ten tree species, all common in Europe, Asia, and North America. These are large, woody trees and most species look about the same. They grow best in dry soils and create a thick, fibrous root network as part of its defense mechanism against wind.
Cabbage Palmeto (Sabal palmetto)
Known by several names, these are some of the most common palm trees in the eastern part of North America, especially in Florida and off the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia. They have been transplanted to many parts of the southern U.S., however, and are known for their relatively hardy nature. They are extremely flexible, which contributes to their wind resistance.
Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera)
A popular fruiting tree on the southwestern coast of North America, this palm grows in many tropical and subtropical areas. It has many uses beyond decoration and wood, most centering around its prolific coconut production habits. Like most palms, its trunk is very flexible.
Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia)
Native to India and southeast Asia, the Crape Myrtle (or Crepe) contains around fifty species of deciduous evergreens. There are shrubs of this name, but in the U.S., the trees are more commonly grown.
Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
This is an evergreen oak tree that has become iconic for the Old South. With characteristics somewhat similar to the Weeping Willow, the Southern Live Oak is but one of a handful of regional species for this tree.
Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
A common yard tree in the warmer climates of America, this tree is native to South America. It grows short and somewhat stout for a palm, but retains the species’ flexibility in wind.
Royal Palm (Roystonea)
Popular in Southern Florida, there are eleven varieties of this palm growing in Central and South America where they are native. It was named for Roy Stone, a U.S. Army engineer.
Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Also known as the Bull Bay, this tree grows in the southeastern United States both on and off the coasts. Its large, waxy green leaves stay green all year and its hard, heavy timber keeps it from breaking in all but the strongest winds.
A subspecies of magnolia, its properties are similar to the Southern Magnolia above.
Also called Salt Cedar, this is a large number of species of bush-like trees growing naturally in the deserts of Eurasia and Africa. They are found throughout the dry plains of the U.S. and are wind hardy because of their thin, whip-like branches.
Thread Palm (Washingtonia robusta)
Native to Mexico, this palm has many names and shares the characteristics of most tall palms, being flexible and robust.
Tulip Tree (Liriodendron)
Large magnolia-family trees, the Tulip Tree is often mislabeled a poplar. Native to the eastern side of North America, this tree is very wind resistant due to its thin leaves and vines, which give easily to the torrent.
Weeping Fig (Focus benjamina)
Known variously as the Ficus Tree and Benjamin’s Fig, this tree is a type of fig tree from Asia and Australia that grows well in tropical and subtropical areas. It is usually grown as a house plant rather than a yard or garden tree.
Wind Resilient Shrubs
Shrubs can also become the victims of too much wind. These shrubs tend to hold up better.
English Holly (Llex aquifolium)
Known by several names, including European Holly and Christmas Holly, this shrub grows in much of Europe, Asia and Africa. It grows best in shady areas and is very adaptable. Most hollies are strongly built and do well in windy climates.
Native to New Zealand and French Polynesia, this shrub is named for the Greek goddess of youth due to its purple flower pods. These pods are believed in mythology to grant youthfulness. Apart from the flowers, it is wind hardy in most areas.
One of the most well-known shrubs, nearly all species are wind resistant.
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Native to most of the northern and western United States, this plant is known by many names, including Red Willow, Redstem Dogwood, Redtwig Dogwood, Red-rood, American Dogwood, Creek Dogwood, and Western Dogwood. Although it grows relatively high, its whip-like branches do well in the winds of the west.
Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa)
Known by various names, this Japanese Rose is grown often as a covering vine or fence and does well in the wind.
Known by many names, this woody bush is very wind tolerant thanks to its strong build and flexible stalks.
Yaupon Holly (Llex vomitoria)
Like most hollies, this one is very wind resistant. Native to the southeastern U.S. It is often called a small tree because of its tree-like structure, but it retains its holly background.
Want to learn more about wind resilient trees and shrubs?
Don’t miss these resources:
Wind-Resilient, Florida-Friendly Landscape Design and Management from University of Florida IFAS Extension
Smart Growth in Urban Forestry: Using Hurricane Resistant Trees from Alabama Cooperative Extension System