- Author: Melissa G. Womack
It's California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 (May 1-8), it serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of preparing home landscapes to help mitigate wildfire risks. With the increasing threat of wildfires in California, adopting preventive measures and adapting landscapes can significantly reduce the vulnerability of homes and communities.
UC ANR fire and natural resource advisers developed strategies for homeowners to make adjustments for a home that is more resilient to wildfire.
Design and implement a defensible space:
- Create fuel breaks surrounding your house and within your garden.
- Create space vertically and horizontally via plant placement and pruning.
- Use hardscape and noncombustible materials around structures and to separate individual plants and groups of plants.
- Use the right plants in the right places with fire, climate, and irrigation needs in mind.
- Create plant islands that have similar sun, nutrient, and water needs.
- Replace combustible gates that attach to the house with materials that will not burn.
Maintain your landscape:
- Keep your garden free from dry and dead wood, dry grasses, and leaf litter, especially near any structures.
- Prune plants to provide horizontal and vertical space throughout your garden and surrounding structures.
- Eliminate fire ladders. A grass fire can move up into shrubs and then into trees.
- Hydrate plants with a water-wise irrigation system. Use non-combustible mulches near the house.
Fire-resistant landscaping is a critical aspect of wildfire preparedness. The UC Master Gardener Program plays a vital role in educating and assisting Californians in creating fire-resistant landscapes and implementing best practices to protect their properties. UC Master Gardener volunteers help guide homeowners in designing and maintaining their landscapes to reduce fire risks. Planting fire-resistant ground covers, shrubs, and trees, as well as maintaining proper spacing between plants and removing dead vegetation can significantly minimize the spread of wildfires.
California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 serves as a reminder of the importance of creating fire-resistant home landscapes to protect our communities from wildfires. UC Master Gardener volunteers help provide education and assistance to homeowners through community workshops, webinars, and other outreach events. For information on an event or workshop near you connect with your local UC Master Gardener Program by visiting: https://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/.
By working together, we can foster wildfire preparedness and resilience, ensuring the safety of our communities in the face of increasing wildfire threats!
- UC ANR Fire in California, https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/
- Ready for Wildfire: http://ReadyForWildfire.org
- Editor: Melissa G. Womack
- Author: Skylar Peters
Happy New Year from the statewide UC Master Gardener Program. Gardening in January can be a challenge with the cold weather and shorter days. However, January can be an excellent month for garden maintenance and preparing your landscape for spring and summer.
From giving your garden a makeover to planning for a vegetable garden, there are endless opportunities to stay active in the garden in January. What steps can you take to improve your garden this month? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Watch weather reports. Accordingly, protect your plants from frost and other weather conditions. Cover them when necessary and adjust watering both for cooler temperatures and for seasonal rains.
- Don't forget about your houseplants. Make sure to keep your houseplants watered, as they tend to dry out from indoor heating during the winter months.
- Clear plants and debris. Clean out soggy leaves, broken branches and dead plants. Maintain unraked patches (if desired) and old rose canes for overwintering insects. Don't forget to pull out weeds.
- Keep your garden tools sharp and clean. Avoid rust and dullness and prepare for the pruning that takes place in January and February.
- Prune dead or damaged branches. Since January is the dormant season, it is the ideal time to prune. Prune your fruit trees while avoiding apricot and cherry trees. For more instructions on how to prune, check out this pruning guide.
- Start your vegetable garden indoors. Expand your growing season and start seeds, you can plant cabbage, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and spring lettuce, to name a few. You can also start them in a cold frame or greenhouse.
- Plant flower bulbs. Get a jump start on planting flower bulbs this month, which can lead to a longer spring bloom!
- Plan your spring and summer vegetable garden. Design a garden plan now to prepare for spring planting. A great first step is to draw a map of your garden on grid paper and consider which seeds you want to plant and where.
January is a time of new beginnings, including in your garden. By preparing now, you can expect fantastic results in the spring and summer months.
Ask your local UC Master Gardener Program
January can be an unusual time in the gardening world, but we are here to help. For more gardening help and local county resources, click here to Find a Program. You will be redirected to your local county website and contact information. UC Master Gardener volunteers are available to help answer questions for FREE about your garden./h3>