Now’s the time for broom busting

Port Alberni could be free of Scotch broom with a concerted volunteer effort. But it has to be done now.

Port Alberni has the potential to be nearly 100 per cent broom free, says the founder of the Broombusters Invasive Plant Society.

Joanne Sales, on behalf of a number of concerned Alberni Valley citizens, spoke to council last month to discuss the Scotch broom issue in the region.

“We have more Scotch broom here than in Scotland,” Sales said.

Scotch broom is a non-native aggressive weed that crowds out native plants and prevents the growth of forests and overruns farms, fields and pastures, Sales said. In addition, it is a severe allergy irritant and a major fire hazard, particularly in parts of the central Island, where the biggest outbreaks are.

Because Port Alberni’s broom population is less than other areas, regular coordinated volunteer efforts could contribute to the Valley being completely broom free, Sales said.

Broombusters works to help control the pest plant through liaising with municipalities, volunteers, media, and others, and coordinating broom-removing work bees.

“We only cut, we do not pull, we do not use any poisons. When you pull the broom, it disturbs the soil and more seeds germinate,” Sales said.