Bushfire season is upon us and it might be time to do some precautionary reduction work on your trees. Certainly no reason to panic, with just a few simple tasks you can reduce your fire risk and at the same time keep your garden looking its best. This management of the vegetation around your home is not difficult and will go a long way towards a ‘selective fuel reduction’.
Firstly your gutters should be cleared of stockpiles of leaves. Any other piles of garden detritus laying about should also be raked up and composted or green-binned. When it comes to the trees in your yard it doesn’t have to be an over-reaction with the chainsaw. In fact your trees can provide protection from the strong winds that carry the intense heat and flying embers associated with bushfires.
Trees can simply be pruned of any deadwood, limbs and leaves. This will keep them in good health, look good and also reduce the amount of exposed combustible material i.e. fuel. Trees that are growing too near to your house should be cut back with branches closer than about 2-3 metres to your eaves and walls pruned away and removed. Keep everything trimmed and tidy basically, with any other branches hanging over your house removed too –these have the additional danger of potentially falling during storms and high-wind events.
If you’re planting new trees give some thought to the safety and fire hazards the tree may present in the future as it grows and, as always, make sure the tree you decide upon is suitable for the spot you have planned for it.
The dry summer conditions can always pose a few problems with the trees in your garden and particularly for those in bushfire prone areas it can be a little disconcerting. But as I said above there’s no reason to panic and with some planning on your part and some simple tree work carried out by a professional arborist you can do everything you need to reduce the risk of fire around your home.