Fire Retardant Trees and Plants

Protecting your home from bushfires should be a top priority, especially if you live in a particularly high risk area. Although careful tree and plant selection can’t guarantee your property being safe in a bushfire, it can help make your property less flammable. That’s why we recommend making an informed decision about what trees and plants are safe to keep near your house and what you need to remove to help protect your property.

bush fire

Why use fire retardant trees and plants?

Planting fire retardant trees and plants may not completely save your home from the devastation of a bushfire, however they can assist in cooling the fire and slowing its reach. This is because fire retardant trees and plants have high levels of moisture or salt in their leaf tissue which can actually help to slow the fire. They can also provide a physical heat barrier which can prevent more flammable plants, trees and materials from catching fire. Fire retardant trees have the added benefit of acting as a green shield by trapping burning embers and sparks, as well as slowing down strong winds.

Recommended Fire Retardant Trees, Shrubs and Ground Cover

Provided below are charts of recommended fire resistant plants and trees. However, the following is intended as a guide only so check with your local council for more information about fire retardant plants and trees and fire protection tips which are specific to your area.

Evergreen Trees

Deciduous Trees

  • Melia Azedarach (Cape Lilac)
  • Magnolia Grandiflora
  • Magnolia Little Gem
  • Acacia Howittii (Wattle)
  • Acmena Smithii (Lilly Pilly)
  • Prunus (all including ornamental)
  • Elaeocarpus
  • Citrus trees
  • Arbutus
  • Feijoa
  • Ficus (all including edible)

 

 

  • Brachychiton Acerifolius (Flame Bottle Tree)
  • Pyrus (most ornamental pears)
  • Ulmus chinensis (Chinese Elm)
  • Cercis (Judas Tree)
  • Cupaniopsis Anacardioides (Tuckeroo)
  • Malus (apple trees)
  • Mulberry
  • Loquat
  • Quercus (only the deciduous oak trees)
  • Gleditsia

Evergreen Shrubs

Ground Covers

  • Aloe (all)
  • Correa
  • Acacia Iteaphylla
  • Nerium (Oleander)
  • Scaevola Crassifolia
  • Viburnum Tinus
  • Atriplex (saltbush)
  • Escallonia
  • Maireana (Cotton Bush)
  • Acacia Cyclops
  • Eremophila (Emu bush)
  • Melaleuca Nodosa
  • Syzygium (Lilly Pilly)
  • Photinia
  • Rhagodia (Saltbush)
  • Strelitzia
  • Coprosma
  • Santolina
  • Plectranthus
  • Leucophyta Brownii
  • Senna (Silver Cassia)
  • Ajuga
  • Brachyscome
  • Dampiera
  • Scaevola aemula
  • Succulents (most)
  • Carpobrotus (Pigface)
  • Cotyledon
  • Ajuga australis
  • Myoporum
  • Nepeta (Catmint)
  • Mesembryanthemum
  • Arctotis

Highly Flammable Trees and Plants

Any plants with a high oil content will be highly flammable and therefore are not recommended to be planted in high risk areas. 

Avoid planting highly flammable trees and plants like:

  • Cyprus
  • Conifers
  • Tea Trees
  • Pines
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bottlebrush
  • Rosemary
  • Bamboo
  • Native trees like marri and jarrah

Additional Tips for Reducing Fire Risk

Planting fire retardant trees and plants is just one part of the equation when it comes to preventing bushfire. To reduce your fire risk, you also need to invest ample time and effort toward the maintenance of your property.

When leaf litter accumulates on your property, you are providing fuel for bush-fires so we recommend removing as much leaf litter as possible on a regular basis. It’s also recommended to trade your wood-chip mulch for gravel to reduce fire risk. 

Preparation begins with recognising fire threats on your land, taking into account slope, aspect and the accessibility of water. On the whole, the steeper the slope, the faster a fire moves, so houses on steep land need wider buffer zones. We also recommend planting trees at least 5 metres from the house to allow clear access, and have paved sections such as paths and barbecue areas and/or a pebble garden with herbs near to the house. If possible, position pools, tennis courts, and lawns between house and direct line of fire threat to help create a fire break.

Monitor the growth of trees and shrubs, and regularly prune so they don’t overhang the house. Avoid combustible door mats and brush fences. Use draft sealers around doors and screens on windows.

It is important to note that even with all of these safeguards put into place, in the face of extreme bush-fires, evacuation is still the safest means of survival.

Maintain your garden with the experts

If you need help ensuring your property has the best chance of survival during a bush-fire, then you should regularly maintain your garden with our gardening services. The team at Jim’s Mowing will ensure your garden and property is in great condition and help reduce your risk of fire. Contact Jim’s Mowing on 131 546 or book online for a free quote for one-off, weekly, fortnightly or monthly services.

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