Broom Bash introduces new chop and drop method

Greenways Land Trust held its annual Broom Bash last weekend, but with a new twist

Bashing the broom in Campbell River just got a bit more eco-friendly.

Greenways Land Trust hosted its annual Broom Bash, a volunteer cutting of Scotch broom, and more than 40 residents attacked the invasive shrub along the Myrt Thompson trail under sunny skies Saturday.

But they didn’t need to bring trucks to haul off the cuttings.

“We’re using a new technique this year, called chop and drop,” said Cynthia Bendickson, Greenways acting operations manager. “We’re asking people to cut the plants into smaller pieces and leave them on the ground.”

The chopped bits of plant material then form a natural mulch and decompose over time. There is no risk of re-seeding or re-growth, Bendickson said. The plants are cut while flowering, well before seeds have formed, and new shoots will not emerge from the short stumps left behind.

Previously, entire plants were piled for pick-up and removal to Campbell River Waste Management Centre.

“It’s a little more environmentally friendly,” she said of the chop-and-drop method. “It’s a little slower, but with the number of people we have out, it shouldn’t make much of a difference. And they don’t have to haul the branches and stack them for removal, so maybe it evens out.”

Greenways Land Trust set up a canopy for people to gather for registration and instructions, and provided drinks and Timbits for the volunteers along with tools for those who needed them.

Broom bash


Peter Schwarzoff, left, takes the low road while Mackenzie Rutherford takes the high road to eradicate Scotch broom plants during last Saturday’s Broom Bash. –J.R. Rardon/Campbell River Mirror


The volunteers then fanned out up and down the length of the trail, which follows the contours of Campbell River at the edge of Campbellton.

“We’ve always been so well-supported by the community in this event,” said Bendickson. “It’s nice to get into the estuary and clean up a bit.”

Saturday’s broom bash followed other work done along the trail by Greenways in the past year, including blackberry control, planting of native species of plants and improvements to the trail itself.