Summers are becoming hotter each year, and modern homeowners are landscaping with fire protection in mind. One of the ways that wildflires spread quickly is via grass. Fortunately, strategies exist that allow homeowners to minimize the chances of a grass fire starting on their property . Following are five of them.
Keep it Well Watered
Lush, green lawns have significant water content, meaning that they won't catch fire and burn as quickly as their dried-out counterparts. Today's rising utility costs and concern about water conservation prohibit many homeowners from turning on the sprinklers, however. Using a rain barrel catchment system provides free water for landscaping use, and you can also choose from a variety of drought-resistant turf grasses, including:
- Kentucky bluegrass for hot summer and cold winter climates
- Tall fescues for use in shady areas where other turf grasses may falter
- Seashore paspalum for windy seaside environments
- Bermuda grass as an all-purpose drought tolerant grass
Watering wisely also keeps lawns soft and green. Consider asking your local landscaping professional for advice on watering systems designed to minimize water usage. For instance, systems exist that are equipped with rain sensors that turn themselves off in the event that it begins to rain, therefore saving water.
Keep it Away From the House
Don't allow your lawn grass to grow right up to the exterior or your home. Even extremely well-watered turf catches fire under the right conditions, so hedge your bets by creating a defensible space around your home. Concrete walkaways around the home's perimeter can be attractive when small seating areas, statuary, and other features are included in the mix. As an added bonus, you'll decrease chances of humidity reaching your foundation and basement areas as a result of not having to water vegetation that is growing right up against the exterior walls of your home.
Keep it Clean
Stray bits of paper, dried leaves or other vegetative debris, and anything else that could possibly contribute to the origin or spread of fire should be removed from your lawn on a regular basis. It's common, for instance, for homeowners to rake leaves into large piles during autumn when deciduous trees defoliate, but these leaves can easily catch fire if, for instance, a stray ash from a chimney comes into contact with them. To minimize these chances, place them in large, heavy-duty bags designed for lawn and garden use and call a landscaping service to haul them away.