Alistair Taylor

Massive effort needed to ban broom

Broom. Man, I have to tell you, I hate that stuff.

You probably noticed the photo on the cover of last Wednesday’s paper of Sandra Milligan clearing broom during Greenways Land Trust’s Broom Bash on the weekend.

Ever since I became aware of how invasive that noxious weed is, I get annoyed, even angry at this time of the year as I drive up and down the Island and see it blooming in its garish yellow petals.

I’m even embarrassed that it’s full name is Scotch broom. I’m a firm believer that you can’t have too many Scots in the world, except for maybe this is one. And this one is propagåçating like wildfire ever since it was introduced as an ornamental plant by early Island settlers.

There’s been a number of groups locally who have been fighting an ongoing war against broom in the Campbell River area but you have to wonder how successful it can be if nobody else on the Island is waging the same battles.

Scotch broom is an alien species that kills native plants, takes over vacant lots, is highly flammable and causes allergic reactions.

It’s believed to have first been introduced to Vancouver Island in 1850 when travellers from Europe brought the plant to Sooke.

The plant, which spreads like wildfire, has made its way north and is prevalent along the Inland Island Highway. It typically blooms near the end of April until the beginning of June and prevents forest re-growth and is toxic to grazing animals.

I was at a Scout camp near Sooke, coincidentally, two weekends ago and taking an evening walk when I came upon a patch of broom just all of a sudden. I would have needed to get permission to do so but I really wanted to just start tearing the stuff out of the ground. It wouldn’t have taken much to remove the city lot-sized patch of broom.

All along the Island Highway you notice clumps of broom and in just about any å piece of ground.

I don’t have allergies, so the plant doesn’t bother me the way it does people with allergies and most of the year after it blooms, it’s easy to ignore. The deep green bushes fade into the background somewhat when it’s not in bloom. It’s just that you can’t ignore the bright yellow blossoms of this time of year.

This is also the best time to pull it out, as I understand. You can find it easily and the plants are cut while flowering, well before seeds have formed, and new shoots will not emerge from the short stumps left behind. However, it’s really going to take a massive, all-Island assault on the foul weed to really get rid of it.

While I have some space left here, let me draw your attention to the pieces of writing that you will find in this space.

These are called columns. They are personal opinion pieces penned by the reporting staff of the Campbell River Mirror. They are designed to be an opportunity to provide either a personal opåinion by the reporter on whatever topic he or she wants to write about and they are intended to be a piece of alternative writing, an opportunity to give our readers something a little different.

We get phone calls sometimes that make us think that there’s people out there who don’t really understand what this space is all about.

Opinion pieces are different from the other articles you’ll read in the paper, which are categorized as either news stories or feature stories. They are different in writing style, they are different in scope and they are different in that they aren’t attempting to be unbiased.

They are opinions.