[permaculture] hedgerow as firebreak

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 26 15:11:53 EDT 2009

In the Designer's Manual, Mollison refers to hedgerows as potential firebreaks.  Does anyone have any experience with this and have recommendations for the design of such a firebreak in a grassland with high winds?
My own idea is to use Rhus ovata, which is an evergreen, "fire-retardant" shrub native to California (with close relatives in the Mediterranean).  Ideally, I would plant multiple rows, but that probably will not happen soon.  My hope is that they would shade the grass out beneath them, robbing the fire of fuel, while the leaves would not be able to transmit the flames to the other side of the hedge.  It would also function as a much-needed windbreak.  The hedge would come as close as 50 feet to my house, so my fear is that the hot wind would dry out the hedge and then catch fire, spreading to the managed landscape between it and the house.


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