The Guild Report
April 2011  Fire Safe Landscaping Tips     
In This Issue
Point of View
About Fire Fuel Reduction
Tips for Small Areas
Firebreak Area

Point of View       

With Employee Owner

Alfredo Varela    

Alfredo Varela


"My family and I are thankful for the opportunity Gardeners' Guild has given me.  Since the very first day working here, I saw myself growing and moving forward in my career.  At Gardeners' Guild we emphasize safety, team work and respect for every employee." 

Alfredo Varela has been with Gardeners' Guild since 2010 and works as an estimator in our construction division.  We are grateful for his talent and positive attitude!  







Below Photo:

Grazing sheep and goats at one of our client sites in Santa Rosa.

 Sheep & Goats

See the video on LivingSolutions!!




With all of the rain we've had throughout the winter and early spring, it's hard to believe that the dry season is upon us.  A month from now, our bay area hills will be brown.

Judging by our the hot and dry summers in recent years, we expect more of the same this year. 

Now is the time to get a head start on preparation for what we call Fire Fuel Reduction.  It means the management of natural areas to reduce their flammability.

All the best,

Suzanne Harris

About Fire Fuel Reduction

In essence, this is vegetation management.  It increases the space between plants and minimizes heat; the intensity of a fire and speed at which it can spread.  In natural areas - dry grass, trees, shrubs and common weeds are highly flammable and unless they are cut down there is a risk for catastrophic wildfire.


Conventional Means of Fire Fuel Reduction  


Typically high weed mowing, string trimming and brush cutting is done - with gas powered equipment.   


There is a substantial environmental impact as a result of using this method.  Number one, it disturbs the soil and contributes to erosion.   

Other impacts include:

  • Fossil fuel that is used pollutes the air
  • Noise 
  • Machines kick up dust, pollen and will trigger allergies
  • Machines can be a safety hazard  
  • The weeds grow back 

Managed Grazing - A Sustainable Solution   


Sheep and goats are being used increasingly to graze in these areas providing natural firebreaks.  This has the advantage of being environmentally friendly and the benefit of being enjoyable for people to watch.  


Other benefits:

  • The cost of this method will decrease over time because it gradually mitigates the population of weeds
  • Preserves the soil by maintaining root systems
  • It's quiet
  • Sheep and goats work 24/7 and they consume pollen

Fire Fuel Reduction for Small Areas

Sheet Mulching is a good method for mitigating weeds and dry grasses. has some good tips for sheet mulching.  


First - mow of knock down existing vegetation so it lies flat.  

Next, plant any larger plants.

Add a weed barrier such as cardboard, newspaper, overlapping to completely cover ground with no breaks. On top of that layer compost and mulch.   

For more information see:  

See this link for three simple steps to protect your home: