University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Fire-safe Landscapes                                          OH 85
Dr. Leonard P. Perry, Extension Professor

Although landscapes in the East aren't as prone to fires as those in the West, by paying attention to certain garden practices you can make your landscape less prone to fires.  The keys are to reduce potential fuel for fires, and to interrupt paths fires may take.

Even in eastern states, especially in hot and dry summers, having a landscape that is fire resistant can minimize fires starting through careless or accidental means.  And it can help minimize a fire spreading, especially if in a neighborhood with other houses close by, should a fire begin in a building.  A fire-safe landscape can increase property values, conserve water, and perhaps lower insurance rates.

Creating a fire-safe landscape isn't expensive, relying on your choices of landscape materials, and the design.  It is more important "how" you plant, than "what" you plant.

Many western sources downplay fire-resistant plants, as any plants will burn.  Some plants, though, are prone to igniting more quickly.  When choosing plants for a fire-resistant landscape, select those with: Some examples of hardy, fire-resistant plants to consider for northern landscapes include:
lawns, annuals, and bulbs--all
perennials--many, including yarrow, bergenia, coreopsis, coralbells, daylilies, hosta, iris, perennial geraniums
groundcovers--ajuga, bearberry, pachysandra, creeping phlox, sedum
shrubs (deciduous)-- burning bush, mockorange, spirea, snowberry, lilac, roses, viburnums
shrubs (evergreen)--cotoneaster, Carol Mackie daphne
trees (tall)--many deciduous such as maples, beech, ash, mountain ash, willow
trees (short)-- serviceberry, birch

A home is perhaps the largest investment most make in their lifetimes.  Landscape lean, clean, and green to create a fire-safe landscape.

Return to Perry's Perennial Consumer Page

University of Vermont Extension and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.

Prepared  4/05