Take a deep dive into flame-resistant landscaping options with the OSU Extension authors, Amy Jo Detweiler, Stephen Fitzgerald, Ariel Cowan, Neil Bell and Thomas Stokely. These plants not only thrive in our high-desert haven but also stand resilient against the fiery elements. Read on to learn about sustainable landscapes that blaze a trail for a vibrant and fire-safe home environment.
Fire-resistant plants are those that do not readily ignite from a flame or other ignition sources. These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire. However, they tend to produce fewer embers, the most common cause for homes burning in wildfires. Their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to fuel and fire intensity. Several other significant factors influence the fire characteristics of plants, including plant moisture content, age, total volume, dead material and chemical content.
Most healthy deciduous shrubs and trees are fire-resistant. But both native and ornamental plants can be highly flammable. Spreading or upright juniper is one highly flammable shrub often planted in home landscapes (Figure 3). Avoid landscaping with highly flammable plants directly around your home.