The Broom That Does Not Sweep

I may have Scottish heritage, but i have no love for the most prevalent species on my farm: Scotch Broom.

This is a view out the upstairs window last Summer when we first looked at the place. Scotch Broom is actually a lovely plant, but is super duper invasive. Scotch broom generally takes over clear-cuts and other areas of mismanagement (case in point over grazed pasture). The seed bank (length of time seeds remain viable) for Scotch Broom is over 50 years. FIFTY years. So, you’re looking at my life-long project: sweeping out the broom!

Luckily, i have a super cool tool on my side: the weed wrench. Provided at no charge on a loan basis from the Soil and Water Conservation District of Benton County, this snazzy tool allows little ole me to pull huge plants right out of the ground by their roots. It’s fascinating, amazing, fun, a little backbreaking and rather tedious. Some may say “oh, my – you poor thing” at the amount of work i got done in 2 hours, but i think this is really quite a dent! (Paying no attention to the fact that i also ‘planted’ a zillion seeds by disturbing the wet soil when dragging the plants off the fence line.)

My short-term plan is to pull all the broom off the fence lines we plan on re-building as yard/Pocket/chicken/goose fence around the house. Secondary plan is to pull more plants off the pasture to open it up for more grazing and better access to blackberries and edible thickets for goats. Third plan is to mow the bejeebers out of the rest of the plants and continue to mow/pull seedlings for the rest of my life. Yeah!

And to think, my Ma actually PLANTS this stuff in her yard! Crazy! Always check your local ‘invasive species’ list before you go planting anything non-native. She can get away with it because it’s crazy dry where she lives. In other planting news – i’m starting a lovely hedgerow of native plants along our roadside stretch of lawn AND my husband fixed our wheelbarrow! Check that out – i can move poo and hay and soil and plants (and corgis) with efficiency, yipee!!!

Do you have a species on your property that is your lifelong foe (plant or animal)?


Filed under Farming, Gardening, Weeds

6 Responses to The Broom That Does Not Sweep

  1. Susan Taylor

    Bush honeysuckle. As I started my project to rid our farm of this invasive, I had dreams about it… then started seeing it EVERYWHERE. Along the roads in town, in people’s yards. Finally I had a talk with myself and developed a mantra. “One bush at a time.” Down the road 3 years, we have very few left. I was concerned that our tree/bush line between the pastures and our small lake would be empty reducing it’s capacity to protect the water from the open pastures. But within a year, the nice native bushes spread and filled in the holes. We use a large plastic tarp to move the bushes, then burn them. Best wishes on your project. It will be worth it.

  2. They call it “Johnson Grass”…I don’t know if that’s the correct term. Here in Central Texas the soil is poor and about 8 inches deep before you encounter solid limestone. Not rocks, but Rock. This grass spreads by runners that can get 5 feet long or more and it invades everywhere that you’d like to plant anything. It got into my Square Foot Garden and I’m always pulling it out. It’s a real nuisance.
    Deena O’Daniel recently posted…Get That Money! Tax Deductions for Families Who Foster a Pet

  3. I LOVE the weed wrench. We purchased one a few years ago, awesome product! Think of it as a lifelong free gym membership :)
    ChiotsRun recently posted…Friday Favorite: Young’s Lobster Pound

  4. Pingback: On Sheet Mulching and The Very First Plant | Pocket Pause

  5. Morning glories. I must have a mutant variety, I can’t get it out of my veg garden or out of my perennial beds (it was originally planted around a trellis over our front door.. awwww pretty. I curse it.).
    I’m in southern NY state, we got invaded by bermuda grass last summer for the first time. I’m seriously dreading the perennial beds this spring. I have to dig them ALL up and till, I’m a no till gardener. Maybe I’ll use cardboard as mulch for a while, but I’m afraid I’ll kill all the California Poppies and other spreading pretties. *sigh* this garden stuff is hard work. I pay much more attention to my veg garden and chickens.
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