“These trees and all others will help control erosion of our valuable soil resource where there has been such a large loss of vegetation from the 2011 fires. They also help improve the soil by adding organic matter over time as leaves and twigs fall and decay,” he added. “This organic matter is critical to the health of the soil because there is a great deal of life down there. These organisms in the soil are important for proper nutrient cycling for all plants.”
In its publication “Firewise Landscaping in Texas,” the Texas A&M Forest Service offers the following suggestions on planting near a home to make a yard or landscape Firewise:
• Zero-10 feet from a home – This area should have plants that are low to the ground, green and healthy. Use moist plants around the foundation. Keep them properly watered and avoid large clumps of plants that can generate high heat. Use material such as rock or stone instead of mulch around the home to create a buffer between the grass and foundation. Small shrubs with low density can provide beauty and other benefits. Maintenance includes keeping shrubs small, proper pruning and cleaning under all plants and maintaining a green and mowed lawn.
• 10-30 feet from home – This area will most likely have trees, shrubs and grass. The grass should be watered regularly and cut short. Ladder fuels that allow fire to climb from lower to higher vegetation should be removed in this area. The best choices for trees are deciduous species with wide, broad leaves. Shrubbery and bushes should be placed away from trees and planted in islands or groupings. Use brick or stone along the edge of an island to slow the flame spread. Single plants or groups within islands provide a separation of fuels and are decorative. Small to medium deciduous trees are preferable to evergreens in this zone.