Firescaping Your Yard and Garden

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What can you do to protect your home if you live in an area prone to fire?  Learn about “firescaping,” a way to reduce the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire.

Western wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and millions of acres of land. California has been experiencing the worst fires in 30 years and thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes not knowing if they will have a house to go back to. These fires burn everything in their path and can consume your home in minutes. The National Interagency Fire Center has recorded 46,474 fires so far this year burning close to 9 million acres. 

How to firecape?

  • Choose low-growing plants with a high moisture content that makes them less flammable.
  • Don’t plant ornamental grass or high-resin plants such as junipers, conifers, or evergreens close to your house.
  • Grow deciduous trees. They are more fire resistant than evergreens because their leaves have a high moisture content.
  • Keep grass mowed and remove any dead weeds or plants from your yard.
  • Store wood 30 feet from the house.
  • Remove dead leaves, branches, and pine cones from the yard and from the roof and gutters of your house.
  • Prune dead limbs from your trees.
  • Remove any branches that hang over your roof.
  • Keep any flammable outdoor furniture away from trees and shrubs.
  • Remove vegetation from around and underneath your deck.
  • Use fire-resistant mulch.

No plant is fireproof but here is a short list of plants that were recommended by the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

  • thyme,
  • ajuga,
  • succulents,
  • creeping phlox,
  • yarrow,
  • coreopsis,
  • alyssum,
  • California poppies,
  • coneflowers,
  • columbine,
  • bergenia,
  • daylilies,
  • lupine,
  • lamb’s ears,
  • iris,
  • heuchera

See this wonderful firescape demonstration garden created by the city of Santa Barbara.

firescape_full_width.jpg

Even if you don’t live in a fire-prone area, fire can happen anywhere. Many of these tips are just commonsense ways to protect your home from damage.

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser's backyard gardening tips. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer's Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer's Market.

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