By Nancy Penrose

As we get into the full swing of summer, visions of sipping lemonade on the porch watching kids play in the yard fill our heads. While this is certainly a happy time full of memories, it is also the time with the greatest risk of fires. We all play a part in reducing this risk so summer stays a good time for all.

We recently had a client call us after an incident where a row of trees was damaged by fire. While the fire didn’t result in any harm to people or structures and we were able to help the homeowner find replacement trees for their yard (you can read the full story here), it certainly brings up an important subject we should all be aware of: fire safety.
Here are some useful tips on caring for trees that all homeowners should be aware of, as they can be very helpful in preventing fire hazards.

Remove dead trees from your yard. An old tree that was mostly cut down but never fully removed (even more so one that has been dead for some time but never cut down at all) needs to be fully removed from a yard so as not to present a fire hazard. Dead and dying trees are one of the biggest causes of a wildfire spreading. While no tree is fireproof, a dead tree is an active fire hazard and needs to be removed from a yard.

Spotting a dying tree may be a little harder for a homeowner. If a tree has brown and brittle bark of an unhealthy color, it may be dying. A tree with very few healthy leaves or with more and more dead limbs appearing. A tree with visible fungus or molds growing on it, or critters living inside its hollowed-out trunk. Any of these and more are signs that the tree is dying and likely will have to be removed. If you are uncertain if a tree is dying you can ask a professional to do a tree inspection. Then you’ll know if steps can be taken to save the tree or if it needs to be removed for the safety of all.

Earlier I mentioned that no tree is fireproof. While that is the case, some trees are more fire resistant than others. Pine trees and others high in resin are more likely to precipitate a fire. Other trees can provide less “fuel” for fires and can actively provide resistance for a spreading fire. The Japanese Elm and Ginkgo are two examples of trees that provide more fire resistance to a yard (in addition to each being beautiful specimens). You can consult your local tree transplanting experts to find what trees would work well for your climate.
Last but not least, in the dry months of summer do not forget to water your trees. Whenever in months with less frequent rain, increase your plans for watering. Healthy plants with high moisture are generally harder to burn, so keep your trees properly watered.

With a little care and safety, we can all enjoy the summer months to the fullest.

Nancy Penrose is the owner of Big Trees Inc., located in Snohomish, WA in the Seattle area. The company is one of the largest tree nurseries in the Seattle area with over 120,000 trees available in over 300 varieties. They not only deliver young trees, but also mature trees in a wide range of sizes. Some types of trees available include spring flowering, deciduous, evergreen, and privacy trees. The company also does tree transplanting including large trees. Their blog can be seen at https://bigtreesupply.com/blog/ or http://arboristblog.com/. They can be reached at 360-563-2700.