Did you know that May is officially Invasive Species Action month in BC? There is no better time to get outside and do what you can in your yard or in your community to help battle invasive species like Scotch Broom.
Along with the beautiful wildflowers blooming this time of year, many of you have likely noticed the bright yellow pea-like flowers that cover the shrub we call Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius). Originally native to the Mediterranean, it was transported to Great Britain and Ireland by Roman soldiers along with its prickly companion Gorse (Ulex europaeus). In the UK it has since spread rapidly across the landscape and is known as Common Broom. It was first introduced to the west coast by a Scottish immigrant, who lived in Sooke on Vancouver Island, and was later used for slope stabilization along roadsides and as an ornamental in gardens.
Scotch Broom is an invasive species, which means it was introduced here and thrives to such a degree that, if left unchecked, it will cover all the open space that it can, often crowding out other more delicate plants. You will see fields and hillsides covered in Broom, often a dense thicket that is basically impossible to walk through. There will likely be very low diversity of other plants as they are shaded out and weakened by competition for resources.
Part of HAT’s Good Neighbours Program is helping landowners learn how to manage invasive species on their property. HAT staff and volunteers offer advice and expert referrals regarding removal, replacement and maintenance.
If you would like to remove broom and you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure where to start, here are some resources filled with advice, tips and tricks for Broom removal:
If you are interested in learning more about the History of Scotch Broom on Southern Vancouver Island click the following link. It is definitely worth a read!
Here is a link to the downloadable version of HAT’s Invasive Species Guide