Volunteers in Nanaimo look to get rid of invasive Scotch Broom species

Volunteers in Nanaimo look to get rid of invasive Scotch Broom species
Volunteers cut Scotch broom in Parksville.

Hundreds of volunteers are preparing to battle vast swaths of invasive Scotch Broom on Vancouver Island as part of an annual culling.

An organization called Broombusters Invasive Plant Society is the one leading the charge in hopes their actions will minimize the impacts that the Scotch Broom has on the surrounding ecosystem.

The invasive plant was brought to the Island more than 150 years ago and has spread since then — causing problems that include crowding out native plants, preventing forests from regrowing and changing the chemistry of the soil.

Broombusters says that the plant is highly flammable as well, making it a hazard in dry forest areas and nearby power lines, especially during B.C.’s wildfire season.

The executive director of Broombusters Invasive Plant Society, Joanne Sales, describes Scotch Broom as “just a disaster” and says the best way to eradicate it is to cut it now — as close to the ground as possible — while its brilliant yellow blooms are in full display.

Sales adds that this is when the plant is most vulnerable because its energy is going into bloom production, but it hasn’t yet dropped its thousands of seeds.

Sales and the Broombuster team also advise anyone looking to get rid of Scotch Broom to not disturb the soil. Broombusters says that by disturbing the soil, the persistent seeds from previous years will sprout.

More information on how to cut Scotch Broom and how to get involved with the volunteer effort can be found online here.

The yellow blooms of Scotch Broom (Broombusters).


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