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Choose Plants and Landscaping Wisely

Evaluating Plants on Your Property

There is no such thing as a fire proof plant, but some are more flammable than others.  People unfortunately disagree somewhat on which plants are more flammable than others.

Remember, maintaining your plants, by removing dead material regularly, can be as important as what you plant! And keeping all plants, flammable or not, away from the first 5 ft next to your house is highly recommended. 

Choosing Plants to keep in the 5-100 ft zone

It’s hard to cut down plants that you know are good for wildlife, and/or that you enjoy.  Here is some info on shrubs and trees that are either commonly planted in, or native to, the Oak Hill area, to help you choose which specimens to keep.

Good candidates for REMOVAL, especially if small or crowded

These can be highly flammable.

  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Spruce
  • Fountain grasses
  • Pampas grass
  • Fir 
  • Incense cedar
  • Douglas fir
  • Pine 
  • Live oak
  • Manzanita

Natives WORTH SAVING as well-spaced specimens

These have low flammability and high habitat value.

  • Black oak
  • Valley oak
  • Buckeye
  • Coffeeberry
  • Riparian plants

Other natives that are uncommon in our area and worth cherishing

These have low to moderate flammability, high habitat value, and can be quite pretty. Keep well spaced, as for all vegetation.

  • Madrone
  • Ash
  • Oregon grape
  • Milkweed
  • Native bulbs

High wildlife value but can be flammable

These need to be maintained well if you keep them. They can get woody- keep dead material removed.  

  • Baccharis- coyote bush  (Transplants well: can be moved beyond the 100 ft zone)
  • Toyon  (Occasional watering can help it be fire resistant)

Sources: Plant list rated by Ray Griffith, former horticultural instructor, Folsom Lake College;;

Special thanks to Annie Walker, El Dorado Chapter, California Native Plant Society

More Plant Ratings

Native plants

You’ll find a Complete rated list of plants native to El Dorado County on the website of the El Dorado Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

Non-native plants

For two lists of non-native plants, one for fire resistant plants and one for highly flammable plants, visit Diablo Fire Safe Council plant list online.

For more comprehensive lists of trees and shrubs for fire-wise landscaping in our area, see :

  1. Detailed list of plants that are native to El Dorado County.  This excellent list includes flammability as well as wildlife value, and resistance to deer, drought, and shade.
  2. Excellent list of fire-resistant plants native to nearby Nevada and Placer Counties.  Goes a little lower in elevation than Oak Hill Area, but still applicable.  Lots of plants listed:
  3. “Fire resistant landscaping” site that highlights 10 plants with photos, including both natives and non-natives:
  4. Two useful lists of plants, both native and non-native, one for fire resistance, and one for flammability.
  5. Both highly flammable and fire-wise plants as identified by Ashland Oregon. Many are planted in our Oak Hill area as well.
  6. Excellent site for native plants for your specific location. You can enter a specific address and find which plants are likely to be found there.  Flammability is often included in the descriptions of those plants, or you can refer back to #1 above. 
  7. Another good source of detailed info on both fire-prone and fire-resistant California plants, but only some of these grow in our area.