Greenways continues battle against Scotch broom

The target for the Greenways Land Trust Broom Bash is Scotch Broom.

The target for the Greenways Land Trust  Broom Bash is Scotch Broom.

Scotch Broom, cytisus scoparius, is native to the Mediterranean areas of Europe.

It was intentionally introduced to B.C. in 1850 by Captain Walter Grant who planted broom at his farm on Vancouver Island in 1850.

Few people realized the invasiveness of this perennial as it quickly spread up the east coast of Vancouver Island before invading the Gulf Islands and mainland.

Humans encouraged its continued spread as highways departments planted Scotch broom as a bank stabilizer because of its deep root structure and rapid growth.

Nowadays, Scotch broom can be spotted with its brilliant yellow flowers in open areas such as roadsides, power lines, and natural meadows.

Scotch Broom competes with native species for available light, moisture and nutrients, especially on disturbed sites.

It alters ecosystems in such a way as to prohibit other plants from taking to land post-disruption, in return reducing biodiversity and dominating the landscape.

Often found roadside or in open meadows, a single plant can produce 3,500 pods, within which there are 5-12 seeds, easily forming dense thickets of yellow that obstruct mobility and increase wildfire intensity.

So far, there are no known natural predators for this weed, therefore allowing it to spread throughout southern B.C. and other parts of North America.

It does particularly well in recently disturbed areas, and for this reason it continues to increase in areas of Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland where land development is intensive.

Greenways Land Trust, an environmental non-profit organization, has been battling this fast growing, noxious weed throughout the Campbell River area for 11 years through their annual Broom Bash.

Now in their 12th year, the volunteer event will be held at the Myrt Thompson Trail in the Campbell River estuary.

It is located at the end of Maple Street (behind the Quinsam Hotel).

Tim Hortons has partnered in this project, providing assistance to Greenways, plus tools, t-shirts, and Timbits to the volunteers.

Everyone is welcome to join in the ripping and clipping of Broom on June 11 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. along the estuary.

For more information please visit  www.greenwaystrust.ca or call us at 250.287.3785