Firescaping protected this home from a wildfire. Courtesy San Diego County

With San Diego facing a 100-degree heat wave this weekend, it’s a good time to think about firescaping your home for the summer and fall.

Gary Jones, chief horticulturist for Armstrong Garden Centers, said simple preventative lawn care can mean the difference between a protected property and a scorched one.

“While no plant is fireproof, simple firescaping can be the solution, whether it’s choosing plants with fire retardant abilities, knowing proper defensible landscape maintenance or keeping irrigation systems in excellent shape,” said Jones.

He offered these 10 tips for creating and maintaining a fire-resistant landscape:

  • Know your plants and research their fire retardant abilities
  • Replace flammable trees and shrubs with fire-resistant varieties
  • Remove any dead, diseased or dying trees or shrubs
  • Create a wide “firebreak” around your home by removing brush and dried grass from the perimeter of your property
  • Dense brush means more fire fuel. Keep shrubs and trees thinned out, remove skirts from palms
  • Keep irrigation systems in working order and check regularly for adequate coverage
  • Eliminate overhanging branches from driveways that could restrict fire trucks
  • Keep turf in good condition, including responsibly watering plants or removing dried grass and replacing with a fire-resistant ground cover
  • Feed plants and shrubs with organic fertilizers. This reduces quick, soft growth that often results from high-nitrogen chemical fertilizers.
  • Keep roofs and gutters free of dead leaves and other debris

“Vegetation can either lead a fire to a structure or stop it,” said Jones. “Firescaping is one of the most critical steps homeowners can take to prevent property loss and ensure their own safety.”

San Diego County also provides detailed information online about firescaping your home.

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