Invasive Weed

Scotch Broom Facts

Cytisus scoparius...

  • Description Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)
  • Other Names: Broom, Scot's Broom
  • Description: A deciduous woody perennial shrub up to 9 feet tall.
  • Stems: Dark green with a waxy covering. Stems are angular and have an upright-erect growth habit. Leaves: Three parted leaf with simple margins.
  • Flowers: Showy, bright yellow legume like flowers. Abundant along the stems.
  • Fruit: Pea like pods that split open in late summer and eject the seed up to ten feet.
  • Seeds: A three year old plant produces up to 18,000 seeds per year. The hard coated oval seeds are about 1/8th inch long. Seeds remain viable in the soil for up to sixty years.
  • Root: A deep, branched taproot.
  • Ecology: Scotch broom is very adapted to the maritime climate of western Washington. It favors infertile soils and will readily occupy disturbed sites.
How can the spread of Scotch broom be prevented?

Preventing the spread of Scotch broom...

  • Early detection and control of broom in new areas.- Anticipate broom infestation and plan for revegetation after soil disturbing activities. Clean construction equipment and utilize "broom free" soil and rock resources.
  • Scotch Broom Control - Pesticides must be applied according to label instructions. Wear appropriate protective clothing and safety gear. The mention of commercial names in this publication does not imply endorsement.
  • Cutting - Use lopping shears or hand pruners to cut the stems off at ground level. Best control will be achieved during the summer months of July and August. It is important to cut at the soil surface to minimize sprouting of new buds/shoots.
  • Hand pulling - Hand pull small seedlings when they are 8 to 30 inches. Pulling is easiest during the spring, fall, and winter months when soils are moist.
  • Weed Wrench - The Weed Wrench is a tool designed for the pulling of woody vegetation. The weed wrench can be used on broom of various sizes (¼"-2½" stems) and is effective in removing the root. Contact the Lewis County Weed Board for the use of the Weed Wrench or supplier information to purchase this hand tool.
  • Mowing - Mowing can be used as a maintenance / control measure for established Scotch broom plants. The optimum time for mowing would be during the post bloom to seed pod formation stage of plant growth. Repeat mowing during the growing season, combined with other field maintenance (fertilization, seeding) will enhance the treatment effectiveness.
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  • Different Images of Scotch Broom.
Why be Concerned about...

Because Scotch broom...

  • Scotch broom is a prodiguous seed producer. The seeds have hard coats enabling them to survive in the environment for up to 60 years.
  • Because scotch broom interferes with the establihsment of forests and invades natural areas.
  • The seeds are transported from place to place in mud stuck to vehicles, equipment, shoes and the feet of animals.
  • Seeds may be carried via runoff from roads into streams and gullies. Then seedlings may establish along streamsides and along gully walls
  • It also overruns pastures, utility corridors and roadsides increasing the maintenance costs of these operations.
  • It displaces the native plant species and the wildlife that depend on them.
  • And scotch broom infested areas create a fire hazard.

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