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Northern California District
Release Date: 05/03/12
Contacts: Jennifer Wheeler , (707) 825-2300  
  Jeff Fontana , (530) 252-5332  
News Release No. CA-N-12-57

Agencies Will Loan Tools to Defeat Scotch and French 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 Weed Management Area are loaning tools to help property owners remove the plants.

Weed Wrenches are available at the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office, 1695 Heindon Rd., Arcata.

There is no fee in the "Lend a Wrench Program" which encourages property owners to attack Scotch Broom this spring, while the soil is still moist.

"People should pull Scotch broom completely out of the ground, making sure to get the entire root," said Jennifer Wheeler, a BLM botanist. "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 and French brooms were introduced into the United States as ornamental plants and to stabilize dunes and road cuts.

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.

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. 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.

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


Northern California District   355 Hemsted Drive      Redding, CA 96002  

Last updated: 05-03-2012