Can A Landscape Be Fire-Wise, While Still Achieving Other Goals?
As we reach the peak of the springtime dry season in Florida, it is a time to be extra-aware of wildfire risks. Pasco County Fire Rescue’s social media page recently reminded residents of the importance of being fire-wise around our homes and landscapes.
Achieving multiple goals
If you live in an area that is at-risk from wildfires, you may want to review recommendations about “fire-wise” landscape principles, such as maintaining a “defensible space” around the home.
For homeowners attempting to achieve multiple goals with their landscape choices (i.e. wind-resistance, energy savings, water savings, etc.), adding yet another layer of recommendations can sometimes seem overwhelming… especially when the tips from one list seem to conflict with the recommendations of another.
A team at UF/IFAS recognized this struggle, and decided to try to reconcile the recommendations for multiple different landscaping goals. For instance, does a homeowner need to choose between having water-wise landscape beds vs. maintaining a defensible space? What about attracting wildlife?
In the Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface series, the authors attempted to help establish priorities and compare recommendations for various goals such as:
- Wildlife Habitat Creation or Enhancement
- Water Conservation
- Energy Conservation, etc…
The authors also help to identify plant characteristics and maintenance strategies that would potentially increase or decrease wildfire risk.
NOTE: Desktop viewing is recommended for reading the following Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface publications.
- “Reducing Wildfire Risk While Achieving Other Landscaping Goals“
- “Selecting and Maintaining Firewise Plants for Landscaping.“
For viewing on mobile devices: If you’re unable to open the above firewise document links on a mobile device, try these links to the pdf versions instead. Be patient, as the pdf’s may take a minute to load.
- “Reducing Wildfire Risk While Achieving Other Landscaping Goals” – http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR16200.pdf
- “Selecting & Maintaining Firewise Plants for Landscaping” – http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR14700.pdf
For further reading on a few of the other design goals mentioned above, see:
Drought-tolerant, or “water-wise” landscapes:
- Ten Ways to Save Water
- Improving Your Lawn’s Drought Tolerance
- Planning Your Landscape to Conserve Water
Reducing home energy bills through landscape design (using passive shading/cooling, etc.)
Landscaping for Wildlife:
If you’d like more information on any of the topics discussed here, just ask us! – UF/IFAS Extension and your local Master Gardeners are here to help! Our office can be reached at 352-518-0156.
(Not in Pasco? Not a problem! Click here to find your local UF/IFAS Extension office!)
About the Author: As the Florida Friendly Landscaping (FFL) Program Coordinator in Pasco County, Frank works with the residents, homebuilders, and businesses of Pasco to achieve attractive, resilient yards and communities while reducing over-reliance on irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. Through an innovative collaboration with Pasco County Utilities, Frank provides on-site assistance to individuals and communities identified as high water users. He can be reached at (813)929.2716.
Thirsty for more FFL knowledge? Check out some of my previous posts!
About UF/IFAS Extension: UF/IFAS Extension serves as a source of non-biased, research-based information for the residents, businesses, and communities of Florida, providing educational materials and programs for adults and youth. We proudly “provide solutions for your life.”
Come learn at one of our workshops! Check out our Eventbrite page for a list of upcoming events: bitly.com/eventbritepasco
UF/IFAS Extension Is An Equal Opportunity Institution.