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When it comes to creating a fire-smart yard, plant spacing, size control, and maintenance are more important than the type of plant. 

  • Space trees so that at maturity their crowns are 10 to 15 feet apart or more.
  • Avoid planting trees in rows or hedges.
  • Avoid planting woody shrubs or trees within 5 feet of your house. 
  • Space trees, shrubs, and grasses into plant islands. Separate groupings of plants with hardscaping to slow the transmission of wildfire.
  • Maintain adequate vertical clearance between the top of the shrub and lower tree branches (~3x the shrub’s height) to avoid creating a fuel ladder.
  • The steeper the slope, the more space to leave between plants and trees. 

Visit UC Marin Master Gardeners for more time-sensitive tips about fire-smart landscaping.

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