Douglas Kitchen had to move fast last week in his efforts to clear Scotch broom from various parts of Duncan.
Kitchen, owner of Wee Chip Cowichan, a mobile wood chipping, mulching and trimming business, has a contract with the City of Duncan for the job and spent a couple of days cutting the invasive Scotch broom along the Friendship Trail, from James Street to Beverly Street.
He said the time is short for getting the job completed because broom must cut while the plant is in its full yellow bloom in the spring, before it goes to seed.
“The broom is going to seed early this year, so I only had a short time to do what I did,” Kitchen said.
“Scotch broom is a huge problem in the Valley, and across the Island and communities are getting more organized in efforts to eradicate it. Next year, I plan on presenting proposals to North Cowichan and Duncan to deal with huge swaths of the plant here before they go to seed.”
Scotch broom is known to take over huge areas in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere, and is particularly difficult to get rid of as each plant can produce thousands of seeds that are viable for many years, according to the Broombusters’ website, www.broombusters.org.
Pulling out the plants and disturbing the soil also helps the seeds to sprout.
Broom can inhibit forest regrowth, and is highly flammable.
The key to getting rid of broom is to cut each plant at ground level without disturbing the soil, and while the plant is in bloom in the spring.
Kitchen, who has been operating his business since 2015, said cutting broom can be difficult and time consuming, so he has designed a cutting head that can be placed on the front of an excavator that will do the job much quicker and more efficiently.
“I’m applying for a patent for the cutting head,” he said.
“Next year, I should be able to take huge tracts of broom pretty quickly compared to this year.”