Growing Broom Shrubs In The Garden
The broom shrubs grows as a hardy, deciduous flowering shrub. Brooms form small to large shrubs that grow very quickly. The shrubs have become quite invasive with seeds spreading and sprouting quickly. This speedy development makes the plants a threat to native species. Broom shrubs produce wide branching root systems and thick tenacious stems. The stems die back in dry weather and produce flammable “torches” of plant material. There are several broom shrub varieties but the most common are the Scotch and Spanish, which were introduced as erosion control. Brooms can get 3 to 10 feet tall with angled stems and small simple to trifoliate leaves. Stem shape separates the broom shrub varieties. Scotch broom has a five-sided stem while French and Portuguese have 8 and 10 angled stems. Spanish broom is so closely angled that it appears almost round. The bright yellow flowers have a pea-pod like appearance which yield to black or brown pods filled with dark green seeds in late summer.
Controlling broom shrubs with mechanical pulling and cultural management can help in areas with low infestations. This can be difficult on plants like Scotch broom, which may have a 6-foot long taproot. Chop out the plant in spring when the soil is moist and has some give. You can also cut the green foliage and let the stems dry out. Then follow with controlled burning to prevent the plant from re-sprouting.
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