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Tips For A Fire Safe Lawn
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Fires are responsible for destroying hundreds of homes and acres each year. What many homeowners do not know is that they can significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire spreading uncontrollably and destroying property by simply taking the time to tend to simple fire safe landscaping techniques. A fire safe landscape uses fire resistant plants that are purposefully planted to resist the spread of fire to your home.

The number one way to create a fire safe landscaping is to develop a defensible space within 30 feet around your home. This includes planning out the choice of plants, spacing and maintenance. You will have to remove all flammable vegetation including dead plants, dead trees, and dead shrubs; as well as leaves, low-hanging branches and other unnecessary plant parts. You should also replace dense flammable plants with fire-resistant plants.

Beyond 30 feet of your home you should remove all debris, dead wood and low hanging branches. Small trees should be removed as well because they can allow ground fires to jump into tree crowns. Be sure to carefully prune trees and shrubs and place them at least 20 feet from any structures. Trees should be spaced 30 feet apart and kept at a height of 8 to 10 feet.

Additional Fire Safe Landscaping Techniques:

• Keep trees furthest from your house, shrubs can be closer, and bedding plants and lawns are nearest the house.

• For trees taller than 18 feet, prune lower branches within six feet of the ground.

• Trim grass on a regular basis.

• Use masonry or stone walls to separate plant groups and add variety to your landscape.

• Landscape your property with fire-resistant plants and vegetation. Plants that hold more moisture are your best options. Also, hardwood, maple, poplar and cherry trees are less flammable than pine, fir and other conifers.

• At a distance of at least 30 feet from your home, store flammable materials, liquids and solvents in metal containers.

• Keep vegetation green during dry seasons.

• Install smoke alarms on all levels of the home.

• Keep firewood stacked at least 30 feet from your home.

• Use stone walls, patios, swimming pools, decks and roadways to create fire safe zones.

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