For Release: Feb. 24, 2009
Contact: Jennifer Wheeler (707) 825-2300 or Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
Agencies Will Loan Tools to Defeat Scotch Broom
With its brilliant yellow flowers and dense, bushy stands along highways, Scotch broom is one of the most recognizable plants in northern California. It is also one of the most threatening to native plants and landscapes.
To combat the invasive plant, member agencies of the Humboldt-Del Norte Weed Management Area are loaning tools to help property owners remove the plants.
"The plants are blooming early this year, and now is a good time for property owners to begin pulling them out of the ground," said Jennifer Wheeler, a botanist with the Bureau of Land Management's Arcata Field Office.
Weed Wrenches™ are available at the BLM office, 1695 Heindon Rd., Arcata, and at the Del Norte County Department of Agriculture, 2650 Washington Blvd., Crescent City.
There is no fee in the "Lend a Wrench Program," which encourages property owners to attack Scotch Broom while the soil is still moist. The Weed Wrenches grip the stalk of the broom plants, providing leverage to help pull the plants, including the root.
"People should pull Scotch broom completely out of the ground, making sure to get the entire root," said Wheeler. "They should then pull all seedlings every spring for five to ten years and every two years thereafter. The bottom line is not to allow the young plants to attain a height capable of blooming and producing seeds."
Scotch broom was introduced into the United States as an ornamental plant. The plants proved to be a problem. They spread rapidly, forming dense, six-foot-tall brush fields that crowded out native plants that reduced forage and habitat for diverse wildlife and livestock.
Each broom plant can produce 8,000 to 12,000 seeds, and can explosively release them up to 13 feet away. Seeds can be easily spread by vehicles, shoes, animals and water runoff. Seeds remain viable for up to 30 years.
Seeds and foliage are toxic to livestock, horses, and native hoofed wildlife. Broom grows faster than most trees used in forestry, shading out tree seedlings planted after harvest.
Wheeler said individuals can contribute to controlling the plant by taking action on their own property.
For more information, contact Wheeler at (707) 825-2300 or visit www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/ipc/weedmgtareas/Humboldt/humboldt_hp.htm.
Arcata Field Office 1695 Heindon Rd. Arcata, CA 95521