Island towns battling broom

NANAIMO – Re: Most garden plants are ‘alien’, Letters, April 23.

To the Editor,

Re: Most garden plants are ‘alien’, Letters, April 23.

Gregory Roscow is someone who hasn’t gone out to see clear-cut areas, farms and parks which have been taken over by Scotch broom.

What separates broom from less aggressive plants we bring into our gardens is its ability to spread rapidly, densely, relentlessly and quickly crowd out other plants.

A single plant can produce 18,000 seeds that can live in the soil for more than 40 years. This is not true of an “alien” tomato plant.

For farmers like myself, it is a constant battle to keep broom out of the pastures.

Naturally, in our ecosystem, when a field is left unattended, gradually trees move in.

But when broom is there, it can quickly cover the whole field, and only rats and feral cats move in.

Broom can grow to two or three metres in a few years, smothering young trees and preventing the regrowth of forests.

Farms and fields are abandoned here and around the world, as it becomes too difficult and expensive to reclaim the land.

Look at photos on Broombusters’ website, www.broombusters.org. Every town from Nanaimo up to Campbell River is now actively battling this plant as it takes over not just disturbed land and vacant lots, but estuaries, meadows, green spaces and young forests.

Nanaimo is having eight invasive plant removal parties in May. Please go to www.nanaimo.ca/goto/invasives for information.

If anyone thinks broom is easy to control, please show us how.

We cut broom in bloom. Do you have an easier way?

Joanne Sales

Qualicum Beach