Can A Landscape Be Fire-Wise, While Still Achieving Other Goals?
As we hit the peak of the springtime dry season in Florida, it is a time to be extra-aware of wildfire risks. Due to rainy weather in April 2018, we have been fortunate to have few wildfires (so far) this year. However, May 2018 is getting off to a dry start. Pasco County Fire Rescue’s social media page recently noted an increase in brush fires, and they’ve reminded residents to be fire-wise around our homes and landscapes.
Achieving multiple goals
Now that wildfire season is swinging into high-gear, if you live in an area 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 who attempt to achieve multiple goals with their landscape choices (wind-resistance, energy savings, water savings, etc.), adding yet another layer of recommendations can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially when tips from one list appear 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?
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
They also help to identify plant characteristics and maintenance strategies that would increase or decrease wildfire risk.
To read the Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface recommendations, see: Reducing Wildfire Risk While Achieving Other Landscaping Goals and Selecting and Maintaining Firewise Plants for Landscaping.
NOTE for viewing on mobile devices: If you’re have trouble opening the above firewise links, you might 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.)
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.”
UF/IFAS has local Extension offices throughout the state! Click to find your local office!