NOAA have analyzed the La Nina weather patterns and are predicting Florida will have a warm, drier than average winter forecast. Rainfall during December, January, and February are normally low and temperatures will fluctuate. We didn't have any hurricanes or tropical storms so our water levels will be lower with very little chance of recovering before our dry spring. What does that mean for Florida gardeners? It means that we probably won't have to worry about losing plants from excessive freezing but homes in wild fire zones will have to be on the alert. Florida has a greater risk of wildfires this year.
How can you fireproof your landscape?
- Find out if you live in a fire-prone area.
- Keep all mulch two feet away from your house. Decomposed mulches that are wet will likely not combust but will be a source for mold, mildew, and termites.
- Don't use rubber mulch around your home.
- If you have wood entries such as decking, trellises, or benches near house, remove during winter season or replace with metal, concrete, or other noncombustible materials.
- Remove vines, hanging branches, and overgrown shrubs away from roof and entryways.
- Make sure you have clean gutters. Fall leaves, pine cones, pine needles, are flammable and pose a risk to roofs.
- Remove all dead plants and underbrush from your landscape.
- Design your landscape so that you have vertical and horizontal separation between plants. That means keeping 15 feet between trees and shrubs. If your plants all touch each other, fire can spread quicker.
- Keep all trees 30 to 50 feet away from home.
- Regular maintenance such as pruning and checking irrigation systems is important.
Landscape plants and their fire-resistance.
Printable Preparing a Fire-Wise Plant list.
More fire-wise information.