With this summer gearing up to becoming one of the hottest and longest on record in many parts of the country, the thoughts of many homeowners are turning to fire safety. Many people are installing fire-resistant roofing, creating defensible space around their homes by replacing wooden decking with concrete, brick, or slate, and limiting foundation plantings. Even if you don't live in an area where wildfire danger is high, you can also protect your home from fire by limiting or eliminating certain types of trees in your yard. Following are the three most flammable kinds of trees that are commonly found in the average landscape.
Because eucalyptus oil is highly flammable, you should strongly consider removing or replacing eucalyptus trees that are within 30 feet of your home as a part of your defensible space strategy, particularly if you live in an area with significant wildfire danger. The oil of eucalyptus trees contains turpenoids, from which turpentine is made, and have been known to actually explode as a result of being exposed to fire.
Juniper is another type of plant that contains volatile oils in its sap and should be used with caution in landscapes where fire danger is a concern. Commonly used in residential landscaping because of its durable and versatile nature, over 60 species of juniper exist. In addition to having highly flammable oils, juniper has lacy, fine foliage that burns quickly and easily, and it also often adds to fire potential with dry or dead branches and leaves. Junipers are traditionally planted in groups in most landscapes, which further complicates matters because groupings of flammable vegetation causes fire to spread more quickly.
Pine trees are another culprit that can increase the risk of fires becoming out of control in your outdoor living space. Their pungent, resinous sap catches fire easily, and like junipers, dead branches are common. Like the sap of eucalyptus trees, pine tree sap contains turpenoids. Their low-hanging branches and dense growth habit also contributes to fire danger.
It should be noted that replacing these trees with fire-resistant species won't prevent or stop fire from spreading. At most, it will slow down fire enough to allow more time for help to arrive or for you and your family to escape to safety. Your local tree removal company, such as Kansas City Tree Care, LLC, can provide you with further information on devising a fire-safety strategy specific to your local conditions.