Invasives: scotch broom/scotts broom?

Discussion in 'Plants: Conservation' started by mia, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. mia

    mia Member

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    Hi,

    My family and I are looking to buy a property on Galiano Island. We looked at some over the weekend and learned that there is a lot of scotch broom (or scotts broom, not quite sure) on the island. A few of the properties we saw had quite a bit of it that would need to be cleared. I am wondering how difficult it is to get rid of this broom and whether it's possible for us to do it ourselves or not. The other thing is that we would not be living there full time so I'm wondering what the maintenance is to keep it away. I have also heard that it smells bad when it blooms, is this true?

    Any tips, advice and experiences would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!

    mia
     
  2. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    i've never noticed the blooms having a bad smell, but that could only be because i've never jammed my nose into a broom flower. :)

    scotch broom spreads rapidly on some sites and not at all on other sites. i've seen places where 2 or 3 plant grew for many years without spreading. however, this plant has invaded most of mid/southern vancouver island and is said to endanger some of our native flora.

    to remove broom, you must cut it in late april - early june--- before it blooms and scatters its seeds. cut the plant at ground level or below. it's a bit of work but it's not crazy or very hard to do. of course, it depends on how much you have.

    when i was a kid, we lived in the same place for 20 yrs. there were 2 vast broom bushes at the end of the driveway. we left them alone and they didn't spread at all; they were pretty, though! i suppose it depends on the conditions.

    here's a great site about broom: http://www.broombusters.org/. good luck!

    :D
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Correct name Common Broom. The spelling 'Scot*h' is offensive to people in Scotland (same as 'Ni*ger' is offensive to Africans, or 'J*p' is to Japanese) and should NOT be used. Thank you.
     
  4. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member

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    Thanks, Michael. I read the thread knowing which plant it was about, and yet had a frisson of doubt reading the name. Since this was such a commonly used name, it's a good challenge to remind us to be more sensitive.

    Years ago, I bought a then ancient text on tree surgery that used a few appellations with negative connotation. While I'm not into book-burning, I couldn't keep that on my shelves in good conscience. It went to a book charity.

    Has anyone used common broom for making an actual broom? I'm wondering if it is a particularly durable fiber with utility as cordage.

    Cytisus scoparius
     
  5. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Hi than Rose,

    I have only used a bit of broom for sweeping an area for Taiji practice at the beach where leaves fall onto the concrete ,twigs and stones too, a bit much when one has a sword in hand.
    The broom works great in that situation, dunno about grass.

    I had to take out an invasive bamboo two years ago and have been using a bundle of that with twiggy branches at the ground end and it has made a nice springy rake for leaves on the lawn at home! Easier on my shoulders than the regular wide spread sort of bamboo rake we usually find at the stores.

    Take care if you make one as they do look rather withchy!!!

    People who are sensitive to broom find it hard to take the smell of it, otherwise it is a strong bitterish plant smell but nothing untoward. It makes many people ill every year; an imported misery and yet there are those who are just as passionate about keeping it growing on all the hi-ways and by-ways. Peculiar.

    D
     
  6. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    i've never heard of scotch broom being called common broom and i never knew that the word "scotch" was considered derogatory. otherwise i wouldn't have used it.

    for the record, plants of british columbia is my main reference book; it refers to common broom as "scotch broom".

    apologies to anyone i may have offended.
     
  7. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Do I have to get rid of my Scotch tape?
     
  8. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    We used to pull it out with a tractor. But, constant cutting works too. Just be persistant and thank your lucky stars it's not horsetail. barb
     
  9. mia

    mia Member

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    Thanks for all the replies! I am terribly sorry about the term and had no idea it was in any way offensive, thanks for the lesson!

    Someone mentioned that people become ill from it every year. I have heard it can be poisonous, is this true? Again, any advice, tips, information is much appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  10. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    here's a quote from plants of coastal british columbia:

    "broom seeds have been used as a coffee substitute, and broom flowers have been pickled and used to make wine. however, extreme caution is advised: broom contains several toxic alkaloids that can depress the heart and nervous system. children may be poisoned from eating the pods and seeds, which resemble small peas."

    hope that helps! ...and good question, woodschmoe.
     
  11. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I think the reason it would be said that it makes many people ill each year is that its pollen causes allergic reaction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  12. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    that makes sense, eric. good to know!
     
  13. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    I didn't know about those things above either, but I thought that it had nitrifiying benefits through its roots as do legumes, to which family it is related?

    What are we supposed to call that special liquor that comes from Scotland ? You know, that stuff that comes blended or as single malt with a flavour of peat in some. People take tours to sample its qualities and the game of golf on the greens of Scotland, tho separately I'm sure, as drinking and driving just don't mix. ;))

    D
     
  14. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    apparently, broom does fix nitrogen. however, it's said to use most of that nitrogen itself--- and deplete soil phosphorus. check out these links:

    http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/pnw/pnw103/
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/j2h8822261n33921/

    apparently, there're such things as portuguese broom, spanish broom and french broom. is that racist? and are scotch mints ok? :D

    alright, i was trying to be cute, not sarcastic. seriously, though, can someone please tell me WHY the word "scotch" is derogatory? were scottish people persecuted with that word? i don't want to upset anyone.
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Whisky is the single exception where 'scotch' is accepted. Otherwise, the correct term for referring to people or things of Scotland is Scots or Scottish. It's the difference between the name people in Scotland use for themselves, and the name used by those who invaded and brutalised them in the past; yes, Scottish people were persecuted with that word.

    Of sticky tape, it's called sellotape here.
     
  16. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Yes,
    And thanks for the reminder, that Scotsmen are Scottish, something I learned in school about 50 yrs ago in Toronto Canada. I see that it is still important and will continue to use the correct terms.
    Isn't it amazing, what we can learn thru plants?

    D
     
  17. dawnh

    dawnh Member

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    Hi Mia,

    Unfortunately, I have quite a bit of experience trying to get rid of Cytisus scoparius from a native landscape. The good news is that you'll likely invest a fair bit of time with the initial removal of broom, but that the maintenance thereafter will not be quite so onerous. At Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond, we've removed literally tonnes of broom from the sand dune ecosystem. Then, once a year, usually in the winter, we do a maintenance sweep to remove seedlings. (It takes broom about two years to get big enough to flower and set seed.) We have found a specialized tool called an extractigator to be extremely helpful. You can google it to find the manufacturer and where the tool is sold.

    Good luck!
    Dawn
     
  18. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I'm pretty sure scotch pie, scotch broth and scotch eggs are all acceptable too. At least I've seen them all for sale on recent visits to Scotland. These are all legacy uses, it would not be acceptable to introduce a new product and describe it as scotch this or that.

    There is a so-called joke on wikipedia that "Scotch can be used only for things which can be bought, such as whisky, eggs and politicians".
     
  19. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

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    common broom it is, then. thanks for the info, guys!

    :D
     
  20. mia

    mia Member

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    Thanks again for all your replies and advice. I'm wondering if anyone now has any advice on Gorse. I hope I'm spelling that right. We looking at another property that has quite a bit of Gorse on it. It looks very dangerous with all the prickles, especially having a young child. How is Gorse compared to Broom in respect to trying to get rid of it? ANy advice or tips you might have would be great.

    Thanks!
     
  21. cindys

    cindys Active Member

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    Oh yeah! Big time! A few years ago, my husband and I took a driving trip around Ireland in April. Broom carpets the entire country! At first, it was cold and rainy and we kept the windows closed. However, by the time we got to the Burren, it was nice. We opened the window. Within a day, I was feeling miserable and needed allergy medication! I hate broom!!!
     

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