Spurred by months of drought and last month’s intense heatwave, Oregon has faced some extreme fires this summer. While fires seem impossibly daunting, there is a way for you to protect your family and your property. Fire-resistant landscaping means gardening with plants containing foliage and stems that don’t fuel or intensify fire. A fire-resistant landscape can actually increase your property value, conserve water, and look beautiful. You do not need to break the bank to make this change. Here are a few tips for a fire-resistant landscape:

There is no such thing as a “fire-proof plant”; however, there are plants that contain a lot of moisture, making them more capable of resisting heat. In general, you will want to plant:

  • Drought-tolerant native plants like succulents or yarrow.
  • Native trees with thick bark, such as a California live oak, native redwood, maple, citrus, cherry, apple, crabapple, honey locust, dogwood, ash, loquat, white alder, hawthorn, quaking aspen, or redbud.
  • Slow-growing hardy plants that are easy to maintain, including California lilacs, Columbia lilies, San Diego sunflowers, cotoneasters, currants, pineapple guavas, flowering quinces, Island bush poppies, Pacific wax myrtles, honeysuckles, raspberry, roses, yuccas, coreopsis, California fuchsias, and viburnums. 
  • Close-to-the-ground high-moisture plants with little or no sap or resin.
  • Fire-resistant shrubs, like hedging roses, honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac, and shrub apples.

While fire-resistant plants can help minimize the risk and spread of fire, they are not invincible and will burn in the right conditions. It is up to you, the homeowner, to ensure your plants and trees are properly watered, maintained, and planted at an appropriate distance. 

  • Plant trees 10 feet apart and at least 30 feet from any other structures, like your home or a playset. 
  • Prune trees regularly and remove low-hanging branches.
  • Remove dead leaves, pine needles, weeds, dry grass, and any vegetation that acts as a ladder fuel, as in it carries fire from the surface to taller plants.
  • Mow grass regularly, so it maintains a height of three inches or less.
  • Create fire-resistant zones with stone walls, patios, decks, and roadways.

Even fire-resistant plants burn if not well maintained. Keep all of your landscape plants healthy with the proper watering and pruning. Consult with us today about what fire-resistant plants are right for you.

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