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Moosa Creek Blog
JAN
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Low-Fuel Fire Gardens

Creekside Chat

 Although there is no such thing as a FIRE PROOF plant, there are plants that are more FIRE RESISTANT than others. California native plants have unjustly been given the reputation as fire hazards. However, many natives are resistant to fire.  Non-native grass, palms, pines and eucalyptus are much more prone to ignite.  A regularly hydrated landscape is less likely to burn. Many California native plants can survive the summer weather with moderate amounts of supplemental water to keep them hydrated and are, therefore, less prone to fire. There are many natives that want a moderate amount of water, delivered in a rainfall-like spray system, and they are perfect for planting close to your home. Here are just a few ideas:

For use around a shady habitat pool or in moist shade, grow Yerba Mansa, which has a lovely white spring flower, and  California wild Rose. Use an underground barrier to keep roses from spreading.

Catalina Cherry and Hollyleaf Cherry are tall shrubs or small trees that like a regular deep drink, and reward you with glossy green leaves and red fruit that the birds adore. California Buckeye is a moderate sized shrub with white flowers that enjoys regular watering, as does Coffeeberry with its berries that turn from red to purple over the season. Gooseberry makes up for its thorns with a stunning display of red flowers followed by edible berries. Figwort is a rounded perennial with interesting cup-shaped flowers perfect for bumblebees. As an accent or lawn substitute try graceful Bentgrass. 

California Lilac has high fire resistance. Native lilacs and selections come mature into trees and tall shrubs as well as growing  in mounding groundcover forms that bloom beautifully in late winter. Give them afternoon sun protection or plant on a northeast slope if you live in the hotter inland areas.

The beauty of keeping a native landscape hydrated is that even those that need regular water use much less than many traditional ornamental plants, while still offering great food value to wildlife and beauty for you to enjoy. Planting these along with other fire protection practices may help keep your home safe.

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