13 Best Fire-Resistant Trees for a Defensible Landscape

Planting a defensible panorama in fire-prone areas with dry summers is essential to defending your house and property from devastating forest fires and wildfires. This doesn’t imply you need to go with out shady panorama bushes and fairly crops. As an alternative, you may strategically select species much less prone to ignite or contribute to the unfold of fireside. Selecting the best firewise bushes enhances the protection and aesthetic of your property. 

Nonetheless, whatever the hearth resistance of a given species, no tree is totally fireproof. In keeping with the USDA, bushes must be planted at the least 10-30 ft from any construction and correctly maintained to scale back “ladder fuels,” or low-hanging skinny branches susceptible to catch hearth first.

Let’s dig into the 13 greatest firewise bushes for any panorama and learn how to keep them for a secure and delightful panorama.

What are Fireplace-Resistant Timber?

Deciduous bushes are typically extra fire-resistant than evergreen conifers attributable to their broad, moist leaves.

Firewise panorama bushes have excessive moisture content material, thick bark, and minimal accumulation of flammable gas, equivalent to useless leaves or fallen branches. These bushes are the most secure additions to a house panorama in a fire-prone space. They act as a pure barrier to gradual or halt the development of flames throughout a wildfire.

Usually, deciduous bushes are extra fire-resistant than evergreen coniferous bushes. Deciduous bushes normally have broad leaves that fall within the autumn. A deciduous tree’s moist, thinner leaves are inclined to shrivel when uncovered to excessive warmth moderately than erupt in flames within the cover. They’ve increased moisture content material and don’t readily ignite in winter as a result of there are not any leaves on the tree.

In distinction, coniferous evergreen bushes like pines and conifers have dryer leaves with a considerable amount of resin and sap of their cones and branches. The sap can catch hearth and burn rapidly, inflicting fast escalation of wildfires. The foliage of conifers tends to be denser and creates loads of fallen foliage on the tree base, which might change into extra gas for a fireplace.

13 Timber for Firewise Landscaping

Firewise landscaping doesn’t should be bland or ugly. These beautiful bushes present hearth security, shade, and sweetness; some even produce scrumptious edible fruit! Earlier than choosing a fire-resistant tree, make certain the species is tailored to your space and that you’ve adequate yard area to accommodate its mature progress dimension.

Reside Oak (Quercus virginiana)

Close-up of Live Oak tree branches against a blurred background. The leaves are dark green, oval, glossy, covered with raindrops. Green acorns grow abundantly on the branches. These acorns have a distinct cap, known as a cupule, which encases the base of the nut.
Reside oak, with its fire-resistant bark, is a well-liked shade tree in fire-prone areas.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar
water-needs
water wants


Dry to medium
height
top


40-70 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7-10

Reside oak’s thick, fire-resistant bark has made it probably the most in style tree species in fire-prone areas. The intensive cover of a mature tree gives ample shade to scale back the potential of dry underbrush and weeds. This tree has very low flammability. Oak bushes are keystone species with excessive ecological worth.

Within the West, it’s greatest to plant coast stay oak (Q. agrifolia), also called California stay oak. Within the Southern United States, select stay oak (Q. virginiana).

Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Close-up of Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) tree branches against a blurred background. The Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) is a deciduous tree that has pinnately compound leaves that give a feathery appearance. The bipinnately compound leaves are composed of smaller leaflets, creating a fine texture. The tree produces long, twisting pods that contain the seeds, and these pods turn a rich brown color as they mature.
Native to North America, this adaptable deciduous tree is firewise however wants correct upkeep.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable
height
top


30-70 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Native to Central and Jap North America, this deciduous tree is adaptable to completely different mild situations and requires reasonably moist soils. It has a flat-topped cover with a broad form to evenly shade your yard with out inflicting issues for turfgrass. Hardy throughout a spread of climates, the honey locust has enticing, finely compounded leaves and lovely yellow flowers, with spectacular leaf shade in fall.

The plant is secure for firewise landscaping so long as you keep correct pruning to clear the decrease 10 ft of branches. Some honey locusts produce thorns and huge quantities of seed pods. Make sure you select a thornless and podless cultivar like ‘Sunburst’ to make sure the tree doesn’t change into a nuisance. 

California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)

Close-up of a flowering branch of a California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica) evergreen tree. It boasts glossy, dark green, lance-shaped leaves. Small, pale yellow-green flowers bloom in clusters.
Resistant to fireplace, it’s prized for its fragrant leaves and delightful wooden.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Low to average
height
top


30-80 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7-10

Often known as Oregon myrtle, this fascinating deciduous tree is native to a lot of the West Coast and thrives in reasonably moist soils and Mediterranean climates. It has a pleasing aroma, and the bay leaves are a preferred seasoning for cooking. The thick, waxy texture of the leaves makes them much less prone to catch hearth. When crushed, they provide off a peppery scent.

Bay laurels can develop as small shrubs or bigger bushes. They produce fairly yellow-green flower clusters for a protracted interval of summer time. The wooden is especially stunning and prized in woodworking.

American Candy Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Close-up of American Sweet Gum against a blurred garden background. Its star-shaped, deeply lobed leaves turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and purple. The tree produces small, spiky, spherical fruits that hang from slender stems.
Adaptable candy gum bushes are fire-resistant and have star-shaped leaves.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable to excessive
height
top


60-75 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-9

Candy gums are identified for his or her distinctive star-shaped leaves and spike-ball-shaped fruits. Native to the Southeast, American candy gums are extensively adaptable so long as they’ve adequate moisture all year long. It even tolerates poor drainage and wetland soils. 

This tree’s good conical progress behavior retains its branches excessive off the bottom, rising its hearth resistance. Younger saplings set up quickly and may stay for over 100 years. They’re most valued for his or her hanging autumn shows of rainbow-colored foliage.

California Sycamore (Platanus racemosa)

Close-up of California Sycamore branches in sunlight. The tree features large, palmate leaves that have three to five lobes and create a dense canopy. It produces small, spiky, spherical seed balls that hang in clusters.
This California-native tree has fire-resistant qualities, enticing bark, and palm-shaped leaves.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable to excessive
height
top


50-100 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7-10

This deciduous tree is without doubt one of the hottest additions to firewise landscaping in California because of its decorative look and skinny, moisture-rich leaves. The ultra-deep roots are nice for landscaping as a result of they go straight down moderately than out. The distinctive bark is its most distinguishing characteristic; it begins inexperienced or grey and slowly peels away to disclose white internal bark, creating a colourful shredded look. 

The palm-shaped leaves are barely pubescent (furry) and supply shade. The fruits seem like crimson seed balls which will should be cleaned up out of your yard.

Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

Close-up of branches of a Quaking Aspen tree (Populus tremuloides). The tree produces small heart-shaped leaves with finely toothed edges and a blue-green color. The bark is smooth and pale, marked by dark scars that contrast against the white trunk.
Resilient quaking aspens resist wildfires attributable to their excessive moisture content material.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Low to average
height
top


20-80 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


1-6

Quaking aspens are extremely resilient in arid and drought-prone areas, good for harsh chilly climates. The excessive moisture content material of aspen bushes typically makes them the final ones standing in wild forest fires. The moist deciduous leaves and thick twigs don’t burn simply. As a panorama tree, quaking aspen is as gorgeous as it’s practical. It’s thought-about “quaking” due to the peaceable manner that the leaves flutter within the breeze. 

Aspen trunks have an uncommon white bark with distinctive markings that typically seem like eyes. Because the tree will get taller, it goes via its pure self-pruning course of, the place the decrease branches get shaded out and fall off, forsaking the eye-shaped scars.

Aspen bushes might produce suckers from the basis programs, so annual pruning and cleanup of choose branches close to the bottom is required. Most famously, aspens flip vibrant yellow within the autumn and can delight lovers of sensible fall foliage.

American Wild Plum (Prunus americana)

Close-up of Prunus americana branches with ripe fruits against a blurred background. The branches are covered with green, oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges. The fruits are medium-sized, round in shape, with pinkish skin.
Fireplace-resistant wild plum, with aromatic flowers and edible fruits, advantages from correct pruning for security.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable to excessive
height
top


15-25 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-8

This wild plum tree is acknowledged by its aromatic white flowers and small, edible plum fruits in the summertime. In the event you take away any decrease useless branches, this tree is especially secure for firewise landscaping.

Like many fruit bushes, it holds loads of moisture via the new months and resists burning. Crucial factor to recollect is to prune younger bushes in order that they develop as a central trunk. Unpruned wild plums can change into shrubby or kind a thicket, making them much less fire-resistant and fewer enticing.

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

Close-up of flowering Black Locust branches against a blurred background. The compound leaves consist of small, oval-shaped leaflets arranged in pairs along a central stem. The tree produces cascading clusters of fragrant, white flowers with a hint of yellow.
Drought-tolerant black locust, a fast-growing fire-resistant tree, options sturdy wooden and is nitrogen-fixing.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Low
height
top


50-75 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-8

This drought-tolerant deciduous tree prefers ample mild for optimum progress however will tolerate a west-facing orientation. It’s resilient in arid climates and adaptable to the chilly. The fast progress and sturdy wooden make it excellent for fire-resistant treescaping. As a member of the Fabaceae (pea) household, black locusts work with symbiotic micro organism to repair their very own nitrogen within the soil.

Black locust is called one of many strongest timber sources in North America and is commonly chosen as rot-resistant fence posts and constructing supplies. They’re additionally one of many fastest-growing bushes, excellent for erosion management and windbreaks.

The pinnately compound leaves have rounded leaflets and a pretty blue-green hue. The foliage retains loads of moisture to withstand catching flames. 

Water Birch (Betula occidentalis)

Close-up of Water Birch tree branches against a blurred background of a sunny garden. The leaves are simple and serrated, with a dark green hue.
Moisture-rich water birch, native to the Western U.S., is good for moist landscapes.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Excessive
height
top


20-40 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4-7

With a reputation like water birch, it must be no shock that this plant holds loads of moisture in its trunk, branches, and leaves. It’s native to the Western U.S. and grows skinny, fairly, oval-shaped leaves with pubescent reddish-brown twigs. The twigs have warty resin glands however don’t trigger the identical fire-prone points as coniferous resins. 

Water birch is good for moist areas of your panorama and can’t deal with drought. For a extra heat-tolerant tree in southern climates, think about the native river birch (Betula nigra). It grows a lot taller (as much as 70 ft) and simply handles scorching summers.

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Close-up of Japanese Maple. Its distinctive, palm-shaped leaves are deeply lobed and come in a range of colors, including vibrant reds and purples. The foliage creates a delicate, lacy effect.
Japanese maple, with crimson leaves, is a small, low-flammability decorative tree.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable to excessive
height
top


6-25 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-9

The Japanese maple has finely textured crimson leaves and a low-branching profile for a smaller landscaping tree. This in style decorative has very low flammability because of its moisture-retaining foliage and minimal useless wooden. It provides aesthetic worth whereas contributing to fireplace resistance.

The leaves are particularly hanging within the fall once they brighten their crimson and yellow hues. Pruning is useful to take away deadwood and improve the protection of this dwarf tree.

Pink Maple (Acer rubrum)

Close-up of Red Maple branches in a sunny garden. The Red Maple (Acer rubrum) is a striking deciduous tree known for its vibrant foliage and distinctive form. The leaves, deeply lobed and serrated, turn a brilliant red or orange hue in the fall.
Pink maples, with vibrant leaves, supply hearth resistance if maintained 20 ft from houses.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar to partial shade
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable to excessive
height
top


40-60 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

The colourful leaves of crimson maple are deciduous, skinny, and have excessive moisture content material, making it a very good fire-resistant tree candidate if planted greater than 20 ft from your house. This versatile panorama tree is much less fire-resistant than others on this record as a result of it requires extra annual upkeep. 

In the event you’re keen to maintain up with useless leaf elimination and pruning of decrease branches, crimson maples generally is a stunning addition to your yard. However if you need a low-maintenance firewise possibility, skip the maples and go for a stay oak or aspen!

Purple Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria)

Close-up of Purple Smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) tree branches in a garden. Known for its dramatic foliage, the leaves range from deep purple to rich maroon, creating a bold backdrop in garden landscape. It produces clusters of tiny, inconspicuous flowers surrounded by fluffy, smoke-like hairs.
Purple smoketree has velvety purple leaves, is fire-safe, and reaches 20 ft tall.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable
height
top


10-30 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-8

Purple smoketree will get its title from its purplish-pink flower clusters’ smoky, whimsical look. Luckily, it’s unlikely to create smoke as a result of the velvety purple leaves are unlikely to catch flame. This slow-growing tree produces a pleasant open rounded crown and reaches as much as 20 ft tall. Dwarf varieties are a lot stouter at 10-15 ft.

Purple smoketree prefers well-drained soil and tolerates some summer time drought. Annual pruning and deadwood elimination guarantee most security.

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.)

Close-up of a flowering Crape Myrtle tree (Lagerstroemia spp.) in a garden with a blurred background. The tree produces clusters of crinkled, crepe-like flowers of purple color. The leaves are dark green, glossy, lance-shaped.
Crape myrtles, with numerous flower shades, are fire-resistant and drought-tolerant however require common pruning.
sun-requirements
solar necessities


Full solar
water-needs
water wants


Reasonable
height
top


15-25 ft
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7-9

These basic flowering bushes are good for Southern gardeners who take pleasure in huge floral shows. Crape myrtles are comparatively fire-resistant attributable to their skinny bark and minimal useless materials. They’re comparatively drought-tolerant as soon as established.

They arrive in a range of types for various zones and visible attraction. Flower shades embody pink, purple, crimson, and white. Often eradicating useless flowers and branches additional enhances hearth security.

Extremely Flammable Timber to Keep away from

Coniferous bushes pose the best danger to fire-prone landscapes as a result of they’ve decrease water content material, denser progress, risky oils, and extremely flammable resins. Many species additionally produce loads of deadfall that may accumulate on the tree’s base, creating extra gas for hearth unfold. Keep away from planting these species inside 100 ft of your house or different constructions.

Juniper (Juniperus spp.)

Close-up of a Juniper branch against a blurred green background. The tree has dark green needle-like leaves and cone-like seed structures. These cone-like seed structures are blue in color with a white powdery coating.
Junipers, extremely flammable attributable to their resinous sap, are unsafe in firewise landscapes.

As probably the most flammable bushes, junipers don’t have any place in a firewise panorama. The excessive resin content material and risky oils make these bushes a significant hazard. Within the wild, the positive foliage in dense canopies contributes to fast wildfire unfold.

Pine (Pinus spp.)

Close-up of a Pine tree on a blurred green background. It produces evergreen needle-like leaves, bundled in clusters, known as fascicles. Pine cones, the reproductive structures of pine trees, are made up of woody, cone-shaped scales arranged in a spiral pattern.
Pine bushes, with resin-rich branches and cones, are fire-prone, posing dangers.

All pine species include further resinous sap of their branches and cones, creating an simply ignitable gas supply that quickly spreads hearth. The piles of pine needles, pine cones, and fallen branches on the base of bushes create extra potential gas that turns into harmful throughout the scorching, dry hearth season.

Whereas many wild forest pines are tailored to fireplace (for instance, Jack pine or Pinus banksiana wants hearth to set off its cones to open up and launch the seeds), these bushes are greatest saved removed from a house panorama.

Spruce (Picea spp.)

Close-up of Spruce branches with pine cones against a blurry blue sky. This coniferous, evergreen tree has bright green needle-like leaves. The needles are four-sided, attached individually to the branches, and are sharp-pointed.
Spruce bushes with resinous needles and droppings pose a major hearth hazard.

As soon as once more, this tree’s risky saps and resins pose a significant danger to fire-prone areas. Spruce have positive evergreen needles that kind dense canopies and accumulate on the bottom once they dry. Extra frighteningly, a tall spruce tree may drop dry, flammable needles on your house’s roof, creating a significant hearth danger.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)

Close-up of Eucalyptus tree characterized by tall, straight trunk, smooth bark, and lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are dark green, smooth, oblong, with pointed tips.
Eucalyptus bushes, with flammable bark and oils, pose a fireplace danger.

All eucalyptus species are susceptible to fireplace because of the nature of their bark and the sturdy oils contained in the leaves. Whereas eucalyptus smells nice, their risky oils are very flammable.

In addition they kind dense groves the place not a lot else can develop. In case you have a longtime eucalyptus you actually love, vigorously keep its security by eradicating decrease branches, pruning as much as 10 ft off the bottom, and frequently cleansing up particles.

Cypress (Cupressus spp.)

Close-up of Cypress tree branches against a blurred background. The Cypress tree is characterized by its slender, upright form, featuring feathery, scale-like leaves that grow in flattened sprays.
Because of excessive flammability, Cypress bushes, particularly Italian cypress, are unsuitable for fire-prone areas.

Whereas cypress bushes make in style privateness obstacles, they’re a nasty choice for fire-prone areas. Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) has notably excessive sap content material and wooden that burns very popular. Officers advocate eradicating all cypress bushes inside 100 ft of a construction or 15 ft of a roadway. 

Closing Ideas: Select Deciduous Timber With Excessive Water Content material and Low Particles

Defend your house and panorama from a devastating wildfire by selecting decorative bushes with excessive water content material, deciduous leaves, little to no saps or resins, and the smallest quantity of amassed particles. Prune your bushes frequently to take away “ladder fuels,” that are low-lying branches and useless foliage which will change into gas for a quickly spreading hearth. 

Keep away from planting coniferous resinous bushes close to your house for essentially the most fire-safe panorama. As at all times, be sure you seek the advice of native and regional sources just like the U.S. Forest Service and the Nationwide Fireplace Safety Affiliation for particular suggestions and sources concerning the most secure crops on your space.

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