Seminar to offer tips to landscape your home to protect it from wildfires

Having defensible space to protect your home during a wildland fire may protect your home.

Another method of protection is having the right type of plant landscaping.

JoAnne Skelly, educator for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension in Carson City, will conduct a free seminar at 9 a.m. Saturday at Greenhouse Garden Center, 2450 S. Curry St., to teach homeowners how to landscape their property for better fire protection.

"We recommend the homeowner buy things that remain green during fire season, which is May through October in Nevada," Skelly said. "And keep their lawn well-irrigated.

"Plant flowers and trees that stay green, herbaceous rather than woody, leaves rather than stems. Primarily flowers and ornamental grasses that are moist."

Skelly said these types of flowers and trees are less prone to ignite during a fire and are low-maintenance and water efficient.

"We also recommend against resident native plants in defensible space zones. Things like sagebrush, rabbitbrush and bitterbrush. Also juniper."

Going plantless is up to the homeowner. Plants can act like a barrier; but all plants will burn if hot enough. A green lawn acts as a fuel break.

"Rock doesn't burn; dirt doesn't burn," Skelly added. "They can act as a barrier, but then you have weeds, aesthetic and erosion issues."

Skelly recommends the Web site, www.livingwithfire.info for homeowners to read through and find out what will help.

"It's a wonderful site," she said. "Less flammable plants are deciduous rather than evergreen. Plant shorter rather than taller, herbaceous rather than woody. The online resource has a new plant guide " choosing the right plants for Northern Nevada high-fire hazard areas.

"And all homeowners should consider defensible space, because flying embers can travel for miles and ignite somebody not in a fire-prone area. Everybody needs to think defensible space, especially the 30-foot zone."

An RSVP is requested to attend the seminar. Contact Greenhouse Garden Center at 882-8600 by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

- Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

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