Broom is NOT Beautiful

Broom, probably the Scotch variety, is taking over the world, and we will never get rid of it. It is referred to as an “escaped exotic” or “pest plant” because it is not native to the U.S. and definitely not to Northern California. It is everywhere. It is not a substitute for Forsythia which stays put and doesn’t bully every other plant around. Some people love Broom because it brightens up the hillsides and roadsides in spring: it grows in dry, rocky, infertile soil, and needs no water beyond the winter rain. So of course it loves being here in Sonoma County where it has no natural enemies to help control it. We are quickly losing our native plants, and when our native vegetation goes, so do the birds and the beneficial insects. Broom seeds and reseeds all over; it cannot be stopped. Some gardening books say it “naturalizes.” That’s an understatement. It goes wild and destroys everything in its path. I saw some the other day in a nursery. It was called Sweet Broom. There is a species, Genista, which books say is “less aggressive” than Cytisus or Spartium. Oh great! Frankly, I put them all into the same invasive category and wouldn’t consider having them on my property. In fact, when I see the hillsides covered with the stuff, I get both angry and sad. Who knows what beautiful native shrubs, flowers, and grasses have been evicted by the Broom? Maybe it’s unfair to generalize and give all Brooms the same bad rap, but it’s all too easy for it to be mislabeled. Don’t buy it. You’ll be sorry and so will everyone else! (Get Fremontodendron, Buckwheat, or Forsythia instead.)


About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
This entry was posted in Invasive plants, Native plant gardening and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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