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Firewise Lawn Maintenance

by Marcia Passos Duffy, All About Lawns Columnist

Wildfires are associated with the western U.S., but can be a threat in all areas of the country, especially where houses are built next to forests, woodlands, and open space.

According to the Utah State University Forestry Extension, if your home abuts natural areas it is important to understand fire resistant turf care in order to help minimize damage to your home and property in the event of a wildfire.

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Steps to a Firewise Landscape

  • Create a fire-break around your house. About 75 to 100 feet from the house you should create a fire break, with low mown, well-irrigated grass. This type of turf care may save your house if there is a wildfire raging nearby.
  • Use plants that hold moisture. Replace highly flammable plants such as conifers with low growing succulent plants that will hold a lot of moisture during the fire season, which is typically mid- to late-summer.
  • Break up shrubbery areas with lawn. Rather than solid plantings throughout the yard, try to break up shrubbery areas with well irrigated bands of lawn; isolate those highly flammable evergreen trees and bushes away from the house.
  • Don't let debris accumulate. Be diligent in pruning and following good turf care, keeping your lawn well-watered. Remove all dead branches and leaves from around your house and the base of trees, shrubs, and flower beds. Dispose of all cuttings and debris promptly.

In addition, make sure that you have firefighter access to your yard: place fences, trees, retaining walls in places that don't restrict firefighting equipment access to your house. For more information, visit the The National Fire Protection Association's Firewise Communities program for more tips on creating firewise landscapes.


About the Author
Marcia Passos Duffy is a freelance writer and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She is a frequent contributor to Turf Magazine and Growing Magazine. Visit her site at www.backporchpublishing.com

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