Tips for a Fire-Wise Garden

With all the recent talk about California’s historic drought, we’re all pretty familiar about water-wise gardening. But with scorching summer heat and barbecues, have you prepared your garden to be fire-wise as well? Below are four fire-wise tips to keep your family and home safe during this season of burgers on the barbie:

  • Assess Your Fire Risk. Is your home located on a hill or in a canyon area? Is your property close to highly flammable plants? If so, then you need to have a landscape plan that reduces the amount of flammable vegetation close to your house. The Los Angeles Fire Department’s fire prevention webpage provides additional details. 
  • Assist Mother Nature. Choose plants that are more resistant to fire and give those plants just the right amount of water they need to stay healthy. Don’t overwater, which can promote excessive growth.  You may want to consider succulents in your landscaping plan. While all plants will burn, succulents are more fire-resistant because they naturally retain more water. Succulents are also a great choice because they are naturally drought-resistant as well. 
  • Amend to Defend! Did you know that organic gardens can be more drought resistant and more fire-resistant because of the richness of its soil? It’s true and composting plant materials can create a nutrient rich soil amendment that you can use under and around your plants. 
  • Away with those dead plants! Remove any dead or dying grass or plants from within 30 feet of your home, or 150 feet if you live on a hill. This will create a defensible space around your home that will make a real difference if a brush fire hits. It’s also a good idea to keep tree branches trimmed at least five feet from your roof and prune trees and bushes regularly, removing dead leaves, twigs and branches. More specific requirements can be found on the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Clearance Requirements page. 
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