A Look at Fire-Resistant Landscaping

Due to a unique combination of climate and terrain, California will always suffer from wildfires. But with appropriate planning, planting and maintenance, these fires won’t be devastating to homeowners, reports The San Diego Tribune.

A large portion of our state is a Mediterranean-type climate, situated in a region close to the sea with hot, dry summers, recurring winds and mountainous terrain. All of these create favorable conditions for fire. In drought conditions, the risk of fire is even greater.

If not stopped quickly, wildfires can ferociously destroy everything in their paths. It has been shown time and again that the proper selection of landscape plants and good maintenance will go a long way toward reducing fire danger. Second only to roof type, the plants surrounding a house have an enormous influence in determining a home’s survival during a wildfire.

“Vegetation will either lead a fire to a structure or stop it,” says firescaping expert and author Douglas Kent.

One of the greatest impacts a homeowner can have on protecting property and personal safety is to create and maintain a fire-resistant landscape. Planning ahead and consistent maintenance can help stop devastating property loss and even loss of life. With careful planning, a home garden or landscape can be both fire-resistant and water-wise.

As you make plant choices for fire-prone areas, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a fireproof plant—only fire resistant ones. Just about any plant will burn if temperatures get hot enough. Also keep in mind that it takes about a year for plants (water-wise, fire-resistant, or not) to become established. Only when well-established are plants truly water-wise.

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