Many people think that Scotch broom is here to stay.
The people in Qualicum Beach know that is just not true. Seven years ago, dedicated volunteers in that community began cutting the broom and now the community is almost broom-free.
The Comox Valley chapter of Broombusters hope to see a lot fewer of the yellow flowers by the end of May and they are looking for volunteers to join them.
Last year, volunteer broombusters cut broom in a variety of places around the Comox Valley — Piercy Greenway, Sheridan Hawk Greenway, along Highway 19A from the 17th Street Bridge to Ryan Road and Crown Isle Park in Courtenay and along Anderton and Ellenor roads and along Ryan Road from Anderton to 19 Wing Comox in the CVRD.
They have plans to tackle new areas this year throughout the Comox Valley.
Broombusters organizes community cuts where volunteers come together to clear broom in a specific area. Some volunteers cut broom on their own, whenever they have a free hour or so and some take on a park or walkway in their neighbourhood. “Partnership with Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland and CVRD has meant that the cut broom is either chipped or hauled away. We’re really pleased with all the hard work volunteer groups like the Broombusters put into helping remove invasive plants from our parks,” says Nancy Hofer, environmental planner with the City of Courtenay.
“Equally important to removing the broom, is replanting with native plants to ensure the invasive plants do not return. The City will be looking for restoration opportunities and partnerships following broom cuts.”
The first community cuts of the season will be on April 27 and May 1 from 9:30 a.m. to noon along Guthrie Road beginning at Torrence.
Other planned cuts are:
May 4 — 150 Year Grove (also known as Crown Isle Park, corner of Malahat and Lerwick;
May 11 — Hawkins Road and Goose Spit.
Future community cuts will be listed on the Broombusters website.
While people are encouraged to cut broom on their own, the community cuts are good opportunities to learn the appropriate technique.
It is important to cut to ground level, below the lowest branches, to avoid the stock resprouting. Only very small broom should be pulled. Pulling larger broom can disturb the soil which can stimulate the fallen seeds from previous years to encourage new infestations.
Volunteers who plan to cut along roadways need to check first to ensure that pickup or chipping service is available.
Information about Scotch broom and about the community cuts planned for the Comox Valley is available at the Broombusters website at www.broombusters.org or by e-mailing Bev Agur at firstname.lastname@example.org.