Three tips to create defensible space around your home

Aug 13, 2021, 10:44 AM by Fred Speer

This summer, wildfires again have made their destructive presence felt in California, with the Dixie fire having been declared the second-largest fire in the state’s history.

Clark Pest Control has a long history of protecting homes from destructive pests, including termites and rodents. We can help you design a defensible space around your home with vegetation management.

What is defensible space?

Defensible space is the bulwark between your home and what surrounds it:  grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire, and it will help protect your home from catching fire – either from direct flame contact or from radiant heat.

Vegetation management includes the removal of dead plants, shrubs, and trees, combined with the application of preemergent herbicides in the fall to curb weed growth the following spring. Doing this will create a defensible space around your home.

Clark, your friendly pest control, termite, and lawn care expert, says that creating defensible space is essential to improving your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire.

A fire-resistant landscape isn’t the same thing as a smartly designed and well-maintained yard. A smartly designed landscape will use fire-resistant plants that are strategically located to resist the spread of fire to your home. The added benefit of using fire-resistant plants is that they are often drought tolerant, too.

Three tips for creating defensible space

  1. Plant and tree spacing

    Spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reduce the spread of wildfires. The spacing needed is determined by the type and size of brush and trees as well as the slope of the land. For example, a property on a steep slope with larger vegetation will require greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation.

  2. Vertical spacing

    Remove the parts of all tree branches that dangle below six feet from the ground, at least. Allow extra vertical space between shrubs and trees. Lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move from the ground to brush to treetops like a ladder.

  3. Choose fire-resistant plants and materials

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to make your landscape fire resistant. And you will find that a fire-resistant landscape can increase your property value and conserve water while beautifying your home.

  • - Create fire-resistant zones with stone walls, patios, decks, and roadways.

  • - Use rock, mulch, flower beds, and gardens as ground cover for bare spaces and as effective firebreaks.

  • - There are no truly fireproof plants. Select high-moisture plants that grow close to the ground and have a low sap or resin content.

  • - Choose fire-retardant plant species that resist ignition, such as rockrose, ice plants, and aloe.

  • - Select fire-resistant shrubs, such as hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac, and shrub apples.

  • - Plant hardwood, maple, poplar, and cherry trees, which are less flammable than pine, fir, or other conifers.


Also, remember the six Ps in case you must immediately evacuate your home:


  1. People and pets
  2. Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
  3. Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
  4. Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  5. Personal computer hard drive and disks
  6. Plastic” (credit cards, ATM cards) and cash

Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if you need help in preparing defensible space around your home or business. You can also email us at for more information.

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

Note: Portions of this blog were adapted from the Cal Fire website,

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