Here in Southern California, we should seriously consider which plan of action to use to help protect one's home and businesses from seasonal wild fires. Wild fires can occur at any time an are especially devastating in the late summer and early fall when it is normally seasonally hot and windy from our Santa Ana winds.
I have witnessed on news the havoc and destruction fires have caused in Washington state and other western states and pray that those effected by their wildfires will have faith, and hope to rebuild and rethink their "Firscaping" plans.
Listed below is a suggested plan when " Firescaping" with fire-resistant plant materials.
* The first order of business is to break down your property into 4 zonal areas.
* Zone 1 : 50 ft. and closest to your home.
Suggested plan of action : keep area moist and well trimmed,
Install turf,ground covers,and annual color.
Avoid using plants with high resin content ( Pines, Junipers,Eucalyptus etc.. )
* Zone 2: 51-100 ft.
Keep landscaping low and sparse.
Slow growing,drought tolerant shrubs & ground covers are to be considered to keep the fire at ground level.
Use plant materials with high moisture content.
* Zone 3: 101-150 ft.
Keep area high and clean
Trees are suggested to be planted in this zone with their branches at least 10 ft. away from the nearest tree and their branches should be no closer than 15 ft, from the ground.
* Zone 4 : 150 ft. and beyond
This should be considered your "Natural Area"
This area may not be landscaped, it still should be well maintained.
Trees are suggested to be thinned twice a year.
all low branches, leaf litter, and dead plants & branches should be removed.
* Other items to consider:
Use crushed stone for mulch and avoid using bark or shredded dry mulch.
Use materials such as rocks & pebbles, decomposed granite,flagstone, and artificial wood that is inorganic or inflammable when building fences,decks, etc...
By keeping these simple suggestions in mind during this high fire season, it is my hope these suggestions will help save not only your home or business during a wild fire but maybe more important, you and your families lives.
Remember those famous words spoken by the narrator on the 70's Sci-Fi TV show The "Outer Limits" ?
Not that old huh ? Well you missed a great sci-fi show that had goose bumps on my arms. ( Maybe they still show re-runs on TVLand or some other station like that )
Any way in today's world of "Intelligent Irrigation Controllers" consumers can literally control their irrigation systems while at work,overseas or stuck in traffic as many of us Southern California folks are each day. The age of the simple irrigation controller that you just plug in, set your run times and days to water are pretty much a thing of the past now that "Smart controllers" are making consumers lives more easy and their pocketbooks fuller from cash saved from reducing their outdoor water use.
There are a number of Smart Controllers on the market today and having a basic knowledge of the choice's can make a big difference in your investment cost and most important, your desired results of having a properly irrigation managed landscape for your home or business.
Just what is a "Smart Controller" ?
When you think about "Smart Technology you may first remember that most central air systems in homes and heating systems work through Smart Technology. The thermostats read the temperatures within a given space and the system automatically adjusts the temps to what you have programed your comfort levels to be at a given time,and within a particular room or space. This type of technology best sets the stage for today's modern Smart Irrigation Controllers.
Smart Controllers work almost like that thermostat for your irrigation system giving it instructions on when to come on, go off,how long the cycle should run etc... The Smart Controller uses local weather stations to send signals to the controller to make adjustments according to weather and landscape plant materials actual needs vs gardener guessing.
Smart controllers allow watering based on a plant groups actual needs and requirements to survive. When all the correct data is entered into the Smart Controller consumers can be more at ease with worrying about whether to water or not and if they are wasting water due to improper watering schedules.
Many cities and water districts offer "Rebates" on particular models of Smart Controllers and it is worth the time to go online and check with your local water agencies and water purveyors to see what you may qualify for if you do choose to "Upgrade" your present controller.
Their are a number of distributors such as John Deere Landscapes, Ewing Irrigation,& Hydroscape that have a national presence that carry quality Smart Controllers and their are also various licensed landscape contractors that are "Certified Water Managers and irrigation specialist. Check out this website: www.clca.us/water and go to the certified water manager link for help in finding a certified water manager. You can also go to the website : www.irrigatortech.com to help in your search for certified irrigation specialist.
Some other "Smart Controller" links: www.hunterirrigation.com ,