Create a defensible space around your home

Aug 5, 2022, 12:31 PM by Fred Speer

Clark Pest Control has a long history of defending homes from pests. From termites to rodents to cockroaches to ants, we have helped keep California homes pest free for decades.

Our prowess in protecting homes is not limited, however, to pests that crawl and fly. With wildfires fueled by strong winds and high temperatures, California homeowners are again forced to protect their homes from these devastating infernos.

One way to reduce that threat is to create a defensible space around your home that includes a comprehensive vegetation management program from Clark.

What is defensible space?

Defensible space is the bulwark between your home and the grass, trees, and shrubs, or any wildland area, that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire, and it can protect your home from catching fire, either from direct flame contact or 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 form 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 also are often drought tolerant.

Tips for creating a defensible space

Plant and tree spacing: The 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 requires greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation.

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

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’ll 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 fire-proof 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 plant, or aloe.
  • Select fire-resistant shrubs, such as hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac, or shrub apples.
  • Plant hardwood, maple, poplar, or cherry trees, which are less flammable than pine, fir, and other conifers.


The six Ps for wildfire safety

It’s also important to remember the following six Ps for wildfire safety 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 (e.g., credit cards, ATM cards) and cash

Got questions about defensible space? Call Clark

Call or text Clark at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) if you need help 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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