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Living With Fire Tip #17: The Do’s and Don’ts of Landscape Plant Selection

Posted 8/5/2008

The characteristics of landscape plants growing near your home greatly influence the chances of your house surviving a wildfire. Here are some quick "do’s" and "don’ts" concerning plant selection and other landscape features for homes located in high fire hazard areas.



  • Use irrigated plants that are less than 2 feet tall, such as lawn, ground covers, annual and perennial flowers, and deciduous shrubs.
  • Use noncombustible materials, such as rock, concrete, pavers, and brick.
  • Use deciduous trees, if you want trees within this area, but plant them so that the limbs of the mature trees will not be within 10 feet of the house.


  • Use evergreen shrubs and trees, such as Tam juniper and Scotch pine.
  • Have large shrub plantings under windows and eave vents, in front of foundation vents, or touching the sides of the house.
  • Use wood or bark mulches within the 3 feet closest to the house.
  • Allow any dead branches, leaves and needles, dried grass and flowers, or dead plants to accumulate.

To learn more about protecting your home from the threat of wildfire, visit or contact Ed Smith, natural resources specialist, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, (775) 782-9960 or Living With Fire is an interagency program coordinated by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

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