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The Art of Plant Spacing in a Fire-Smart Yard

By November 6, 2023No Comments

Keep these tips in mind for the plants around your home. Spacing between plants is critical to slowing the spread of fire and protecting your home from wildfire.

Horizontal spacing:
● It is ideal to remove all plants within 5 feet of structures.
● Plant density can increase the further away from structures you get.
● Separate groups of plants with hardscaping to help slow down or prevent the spread of fire.
● On a mild slope (0-20% slope), space trees at least 10 feet apart from their dripline and space shrubs 2x their height from each other.
● On a medium slope (20-40%), space trees at least 20 feet apart and shrubs 4x their height.
● On a steep slope (over 40%), space trees at least 30 feet apart and shrubs 6x their height.
● Avoid planting trees in rows or hedges.

Vertical spacing:
● Remove tree branches that are within 6 feet from the ground on trees that are 18 feet or taller.
● If shrubs are under a tree, maintain a vertical clearance of 3x the shrub’s height between the top of the shrub to the lowest branch of the tree.
● When creating vertical space under trees, prioritize the tree’s health by ensuring that the upper two-thirds of the tree has branches.

For more information visit the Marin Master Gardeners website.

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