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Wildfire Spring Maintenance

Firewise Spring Maintenance

In addition to our routine spring maintenance of cleaning gutters and removing dead branches, there is another threat that has received little previous attention. Whether you call it Oak Brush, Bitter Brush, Rabbit Brush or Mountain Mahogany, that ubiquitous shrub that loves to proliferate under our Ponderosas is a wildfire “ladder-fuel” that poses a significant threat to our trees and homes. The wiry shrub is surprisingly volatile and can burn with flame lengths two to three times its height, easily sending fire into the lower branches of many of our trees.

Removing or even just controlling the spread of the shrub is not an easy task, due to its strong and elastic stalks and its large root system. But it does require annual attention to minimize its potential impact and limit its spread. Short of cutting the growth and removing its root system, regular maintenance with the judicious use of an herbicide has proven to be effective. Experience has shown that Roundup works pretty well, but a combination of Roundup and Poison Ivy killer is even better. It is just leafing out throughout LOP, so this is a good time to consider such an application.

Lake of the Pines has just been recognized for its five-year anniversary as Boulder County’s first Firewise Community. As we continue to improve our ability to survive a wildfire, please consider your responsibility for adequate spring maintenance.

John Miller

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