Broom busting making a difference on Vancouver Island


WATCH: One hundred and sixty-eight years after Scotch Broom was introduced to Vancouver Island, the fight to eradicate it continues. Dean Stoltz reports. 

Volunteers have been working almost non-stop for weeks in the Oceanside area, cutting Scotch Broom plants.

“We don’t want Scotch Broom, not just because it’s alien but it’s very aggressive,” said BroomBusters founder Joanne Sales. “It’s a hardier plant than our native plants so it strangles our native plants. It reduces biodiversity to next to nothing.”

In 1850 a Scotsman just wanted a piece of home when he brought three Scotch Broom seeds to the Victoria area. Since then it’s spread like wildfire and it’s been a fight to eradicate it ever since.

“The problem with Scotch Broom is the seeds, it?s not the roots,” said Sales. “A single plant can produce 18,000 seeds that live in the soil for 30 to 40 years.”

Spring is the time the volunteers race to cut the plant when the flowers are blooming.

“We have about a six-week window so it?s really important to get out there and work really hard for that period,” said volunteer Janet Hepestall.

The plants are also an extreme fire hazard.

“Scotch Broom has lots of dead branches,” added Sales. “Right now you just see the yellow flowers but it has a lot of dead branches right below them and it has really high oil content so it?s like having kerosene on the side of the roads.”

People are encouraged to cut broom from their private property as well.

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Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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