What to plant for a fire-resistant landscape

May 2022 Posted in Gardening

This is a good time to look at rearranging the landscape for future fire resistance in the urban/forest boundary.

Fire-resistant plants often have supple leaves without waxy or resinous surfaces, are higher in moisture content, low in oils and/or they wear thick barks that do not ignite easily, and are often drought-resistant as well. Such plants may be damaged or killed by fire, but their foliage does not readily ignite or contribute to a fire. Fire resistant plants make great substitutes for less resilient plants in a homeowner’s defensible space plan.

Consider planting groundcovers like ajuga (bugleweed), cotoneaster, ice plants, lamium, sedums, thymes, wild strawberries or Veronica species. Perennials like chives, yarrow, geraniums (cranesbill and pelargoniums), bergenia, coral bells, day lilies, hosta, iris, lavender, honeysuckle, poppies and penstemons are all considered fire-resistant and enjoyable additions to landscapes.

Shrubs that are fire-resistant include ceonothus (California lilac), daphne, Oregon grape holly, rhododendrons and azaleas, serviceberry, burning bush, ocean spray, Russian sage, mock orange, roses and lilacs. Resistant trees include western larch, Ponderosa pine, maples, alders, ashes, birches, redbud, oaks, dogwood and hawthorns.

There are some informational resources  available http;//extension.oregonstate.edu.

– Diane Hyde, OSU Master Gardener

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