2021 Year In Review – Scotch Broom Brigade!
by Margaret Tufft and Carol Price
Have you ever noted the popping sound of scotch broom pods jettisoning thousands of seeds during the hot days of summer?
Clear cutting of hundreds of acres of forest in Kitsap County has provided opportunity for the rapid growth of pesky scotch broom. On private timber land, clear cuts are sprayed with herbicides to deter the growth of vegetation like broom that would out-compete newly planted Douglas fir seedlings. Unfortunately herbicides can wipe out native plant species that are beneficial to forest recovery, and can be hazardous to wildlife and our pets, too.
At Pt Gamble Forest Heritage Park, herbicides are not used, and we are seeing the rise of scotch broom in the acres that Rayonier has clear cut. Scotch broom is invasive and is best cut in summer before it forms brown seed pods. Summer heat dries it out quickly. Scott Ohrberg, park steward in charge of the daunting project of clearing the broom, requested volunteers to help, and KEC responded. In honor of Earth Day, April 22nd, coordinating with Scott, we organized our first broom lopping event. Over a period of weeks, we continued to come together with our pruners and reciprocating saws to lop the walls of scotch broom along logging road 1300. A special shout out to Lisa Hurt, Carol Price, and most especially to Sue DeArman and her friends for their hard work.
Never fear … the opportunity to help clear scotch broom will not be going away anytime soon! You can contact the stewards at PGFHP and volunteer. They have a variety of outdoor opportunities.
Clearing scotch broom is complicated. There are windows of time and techniques for removing it without accidentally spreading it. To learn more, please visit this invaluable non-profit Canadian site: www.broombusters.org.