In the event of an emergency this site is not monitored. For current information go to
UC Master Gardener Tips

How to Prune for Wildfire

Winter is a great season to focus on pruning while trees are dormant (except apricot and cherry). When pruning for fire safety, prioritize Zone 0 (0-5 feet from home) and Zone 1 (5-30 feet from home).

Prune to remove dead and dying branches:
Dead and dying branches are highly flammable and pose a hazard. Prune them regularly to prevent them from accumulating and creating fuel ladders that can carry fire to the crowns of trees.

Prune and thin to increase space between trees and shrubs:
Thinning out dense areas of shrubs and trees reduces the amount of continuous fuel for fire. Proper spacing helps prevent fire from spreading quickly and creates defensible space for firefighters.

For more information about plant spacing, see our November tips: Plant Spacing in a Fire-Smart Landscape.

Additional tips:
● Avoid topping trees as this weakens their structure and encourages dense, twiggy growth that is highly flammable
● Remove branches within 10 feet of your chimney
● Consider removing branches that overhang your roof to minimize plant debris, but not to the detriment of the tree’s health
● For more information about healthy pruning techniques, click here.

Remember, fire-smart pruning is an ongoing process. Regularly monitor your landscape and prune as needed to maintain defensible space around your home.

For more information on fire-smart landscaping, visit the UC Marin Master Gardener website.

Skip to content