The Q&A Archives: What Does Firescaping Mean?

Question: What does firescaping mean? I have an area that has a southern exposure and a brink wall with afternoon sun. My snapdragons got fried last year but the grape tomates did well. I watered everything, so I figure the issue was the heat. I was hoping that firespace meant plants that did well in sunny hot conditions. I'm thinking of daylilies, ornamental grass, coneflowers. Any imput on how to search or plant selection would be appreciated.

Answer: Firescaping is landscaping intended to reduce the chances of a nearby wildfire actually crossing your yard and reaching your house. It is used in areas where wildfires or forestfires are a frequent danger.

The landscaping you need is a selection of plants that can withstand hot sun afternoon sun and likely a well drained to dry soil. Daylilies (Hemerocallis), ornamental grasses, coneflowers (Echinacea), black eyed susans (Rudbeckia), yarrow or achillea, perennial salvia, thyme, and perennial geraniums would be plants to consider. You might also look at Caryopteris, lavender (the hardier L.angustifolia types), and the small potentilla shrubs. Bearded iris as well as many of the spring flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc.) would also be good selections. You could also consider some low growing evergreens such as creeping junipers or even mugo pines if you are looking for reduced maintenance.

Keep in mind that the plants will do better if the soil is improved with compost or other organic matter to help it hold moisture and if you use a layer of several inches of organic mulch year round. This will help keep down weeds, reduce watering, and also help improve the soil when it rots down over time. Finally, new plants must be watered regularly (unless rain is sufficient to keep the soil moist) until they become established and have developed deep root systems. Good luck with your planting!

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