5 Steps You Can Take With Your Trees To Slow Rural Wildfires

Posted on: 15 September 2017

For many rural homeowners, wildfires are a fact of life. And while you can't prevent most fires, you can take some preventative steps with your trees to help prevent danger to your home. Here are 5 steps any rural property owner can take to make their place safer.

Space New Trees. It's important to plant trees enough of a distance from one another that they have room to grow according to their own species' requirements. Small trees, for example, may do well if spaced only 10 to 15 feet apart, but large trees need more room to grow...up to 40 or 50 feet separate. Failing to give trees room to grow could lead to unhealthy trees, spread pest infestations, and give more fuel to passing fires. 

Trim the Canopies. Look up and see how mature trees look overhead. The canopies of most rural trees should not touch each other directly. Doing so makes it easier for sparks and flames to pass from one tree to the next and move faster. If you can't keep canopies thinned out, it may be best to remove some of the intermediary trees. 

Reduce Volume. Clumps of trees and a thickly forested property look great, but these features are bad for fire season. Thinner forests provide less fuel for fires. If you suspect you need to reduce the mass of trees on your land, it's a good idea to work with a professional arborist who specializes in tree removal. 

Prune Regularly. Keep trees healthy and happy by trimming them on a regular basis. In addition to looking for damaged, dying, or broken branches, keep an eye out for signs of pests and rot. Prune branches to a nice, even, rounded shape and avoid letting trees become heavy on only one side. Dry, infected or insect-ridden trees--such as those suffering from the prevalent pine beetle--become much more flammable. And lopsided trees can become a falling hazard during emergencies. 

Keep Trees Away from Buildings. Monitoring how close trees are to your home, barn, or other outbuildings is the final step in securing the property from fires. If the fire gets past your outer landscaping, you'll need to ensure that it doesn't easily reach the house. For this reason, remove or avoid planting trees within 10 or 20 feet of the house. And any large trees should not have branches that overhang any buildings. It may be much better to landscape with attractive hardscaping, some thinned bushes, or colorful plants. 

By knowing how to manage your trees and keep them from adding fuel to any fires, you can take positive steps now to prevent unnecessary danger later. 

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