Colorado has had an interesting winter. There were periods of high temperatures followed by heavy snows and frigid temperatures. Colorado, like many Western states, is in the grips of a historic drought. With all of these temperature extremes, you need to be thinking about the upcoming wildfire season. Are the trees on your land ready for the upcoming wildfire season? Here are some tips for checking on your trees before the wildfire season gets going this summer.
Why Should I Be Worried About Wildfire Season?
2020 was one of the most destructive wildfire seasons in Colorado history. In 2020, 700,000 acres were burned. The three largest fires in Colorado history occurred in 2020: The Cameron Peak Fire, the East Troublesome Fire, and the Pine Gulch Fire. All three of these fires occurred in different areas of Colorado. The Pine Gulch Fire happened east of Grand Junction in Western Colorado. The East Troublesome Fire happened west of Boulder in northern Colorado. The Cameron Peak Fire happened in far northern Colorado near Fort Collins. This means that large wildfires can happen nearly anywhere in Colorado. If you live in the Denver area, you’re surrounded by mountains as well as grasslands. You may be living in the suburbs, but past wildfire seasons show that nowhere is safe from wildfire.
Why Do I Need to Worry About My Trees?
One time-honored way you can protect your home from wildfire is to prepare for the wildfire season in advance. Here are some things you can do:
You need to remove any debris from your yard. Dead leaves, plants and any trash left over from the winter needs to be picked up.
Clean any leaves and twigs or trash from the roof and the gutters.
If you have vents in the attic or window screens, they need to be cleaned out.
Move winter firewood from close to the house at least 30 feet from the house.
Your next step needs to be your trees. First, walk around your property. While you might be looking at your home with the eyes of a homeowner, you need to look as a fire fighter. Do you have trees on your property that are less than 10 feet apart, or less than 30 feet from your home? If you do, you may want to remove them.
How should you decide which trees to remove? Check the health of the tree. There are things you can check to determine if your tree is healthy. First, look for dead or broken branches. If your tree has a lot of dead and broken branches, your tree may not be healthy. Also, look at the tree bark. If the bark on the tree is peeling or looks loose, the tree may be sick. Another clue you may see with a sick tree is excessive mold or lichen growth on the trunk. You can cut all of these trees to preserve the whole, living trees.
Fire Resistance and Trees
First, you need to know that no tree or plant is completely fireproof. Wildfires are so strong they can overwhelm the trees in seconds. You can’t fireproof your trees, but you can plant fire resistant trees and bushes. You might want to plant some of these trees and shrubs on your property.
Plants with high moisture content are more fire resistant. Examples of high moisture content plants include columbine, sage, goldenrod and thyme.
Choose deciduous trees to plant over conifers. Deciduous trees are more dense, which makes them more fire resistant. Examples of great deciduous trees include maple, poplar and cherry trees.
There are fire-resistant shrubs you can plant as well. Fire resistant shrubs include hedging roses, bush honeysuckle, currant and sumac.
What Should I Do?
First, you can follow the guidelines that will help your property stay fire safe. There should be a safe zone around your home with no trash or debris, and only green, healthy plants. Remember that you want to keep both trees and plants away from your home by at least 30 feet. If you are unsure about a tree, that’s when you need to call A Touch of Class. Our tree service experts can come out, evaluate your trees, and determine if you have trees that are diseased and need to be removed. We can also remove trees that are less than 10 feet apart from each other, or that are less than 30 feet from your home. We do storm evaluation and can take trees down that may fall into your home due to storms. If you’re having tree issues, contact us today.