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Learn how to 'firescape' and protect home from wildfire

El Dorado Hills fire station and master gardeners team for free public workshop

Red and white blossoms on salvia plant
Salvia, such as the popular "Hot Lips" variety, is a good choice for firescaping
as well as for drought resistance. Learn about firescaping during a free class
Saturday. (Photo: Kathy Morrison)

When it comes to wildfire, your landscaping can help save your house or cabin.

Learn how during a special free public class hosted by gardening and fire experts – local master gardeners and firefighters.

This in-person presentation is a collaboration between the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County and the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, with a local fire station (No. 85) serving as classroom.

From 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 23, El Dorado County master gardener Kit Veerkamp will team with Tim White, also a master gardener and a member of the fire district’s board of directors. They’ll focus on home hardening – ways to make it tougher for fire to ever get a toehold near your house. The class also will cover current guidelines and recommendations about defensible space as well as what to plant in a fire-wise landscape.

“Fire Resiliency for El Dorado Hills” will particularly highlight the challenges faced by fire-prone Sierra foothills communities. That includes both firefighting and drought. A fire-wise garden can be water-wise, too.

A big difference between firescaping and low-water gardening: Plant choice. Such favorite low-water Mediterranean plants as rosemary burn easily due to the high oil or resin content in their leaves. Evergreen conifers such as pines also may not be fire-wise – even though they may be native. Low-water native grasses tend to burn rapidly.

Among the plants recommended for firescaping: Daylily, butterfly bush, lavender, salvia, coreopsis and ceanothus.

No advance registration is necessary for Saturday’s class. El Dorado Hills Fire Station No. 85 is located at 1050 Wilson Blvd., El Dorado Hills.

For more information, email or call 530-621-5512.



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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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