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.