June 15th

The prevalence of extreme drought combined with climate change are making wildfires the new normal. The western U.S. is currently experiencing a megadrought, and the wildfire season is expected to be early and intense. In fact, the number of wildfires so far in 2021 is already at a ten-year high.

So how can homeowners protect their property? Proper landscaping can help.

Familiarize yourself with local regulations. Many communities have laws regarding vegetation clearances, disposal of debris, defendable zones, and other fire safety requirements. Become familiar with those immediately so you are ready before disaster strikes.

Plant grass. Healthy turfgrass can be a significant deterrent to wildfires and can help protect property. Green grass slows the spread of wildfires because of its low fuel value, and it provides a defendable space around structures where firefighters can work effectively.

Choose low-flammability species. Deciduous plants are less flammable than evergreens. Broadleaf plants are less flammable than those with needle and blade-like leaves. Moist and easily bent leaves are less flammable than stiff, leathery ones. Check with your local extension office or nursery to learn more.

Prune properly. Keep trees and shrubs well-pruned. Trim trees so the lowest limbs are six to ten feet off the ground.

Mow & water. Mow your lawn regularly and be sure your irrigation system is working properly and is well-maintained.

Clean up. Remove dead leaves, branches and other debris from your yard regularly.

To learn more about the many benefits of backyarding, go to TurfMutt.com.