With ongoing wildfire challenges throughout Santa Barbara County, you might find yourself asking what trees offer fire resistance. Fortunately, there are some very good choices for your landscape. Unfortunately, when fires go out of control, no tree is truly safe.
Fire safe landscaping uses fire-resistant plants and trees strategically placed around a property to resist the spread of fire to homes. The great thing about fire-resistant trees and plants is often times they are also drought tolerant; a trait any California landscape could benefit from.
Fact: Most fire-resistant trees are only flammable high above the fire’s surface.
Coast Live Oak
The Coast Live Oak is native from California all the way to southern Baja. This evergreen oak has a multi-branched trunk that can reach mature heights up to 82 feet with trunks up to 13 feet in diameter. Older trees can live up to as much as 250 years and often have massive contorted trunks.
The Ponderosa Pine like its name personifies the Wild West. This tree can be found across the western United States and Canada. They grow to about 100 feet high and in 2011, researchers found one that measured an incredible 268 feet high.
Not to be confused with Redwoods, Sequoias have leaves that look like flattened cedar leaves and are the largest living trees/things in the world by volume. These Giant Sequoias have recorded heights up to 311 feet with diameters up to 27 feet. Though not a landscaping tree, it is a true wonder to see.
Older Coastal Redwoods have a thick bark with deep vertical valleys that give them fire-resistant characteristics. Sadly, younger trees do not have thick fire-resistant bark and easily burn.
Suited to Mediterranean landscapes, this beautiful fruit bearing tree’s latax-like sap gives it fire-resistant qualities.
Like the Mulberry, both fruiting and non-fruiting fig trees contain a fire-resistant latex-like sap. Fig trees are suited to a variety of landscaping types and larger, older trees are near perfect specimens for tree houses.
The Bay Laurel is a beautiful, large, low maintenance tree with amazingly aromatic leaves. Bay trees can be found in many landscape styles.
Many fruit trees fall into the fire-resistant category. Their ability to capture and hold water gives them their fire-resistant edge over other trees. Pomegranates, loquats, and quinces are less thirsty and more suited to California’s dry climate.
For more in-depth advice on these and other fire-resistant trees, contact a Santa Barbara Arborist or call The Beaver Tree Company at (805) 966-0975 and we will happily visit your property to help you plan for a more fire safe landscape.