It’s an alien invasion, but instead of probing and mind control, this invasion leads to one invasive species taking over entire ecosystems.

Director of Broombusters Joanne Sales made a presentation to North Cowichan council recently about the environmental harm scotch broom causes and the best practices for removal.

Sales said once the plant takes root, widespread problems begin.

“It spreads rapidly in the sun, it only grows in the sun, forms dense thickets, which then crowd out the native plants, leads to a dramatic loss of diversity, prevents forest regrowth, is highly flammable, it’s toxic to grazing animals and wildlife,” said Sales. “It takes over farm, forest, and parkland, it sounds almost like an invincible plant.”

Scotch broom grows best in the sun and in disturbed soil and Sales said that’s why you have to cut the more mature plants at ground level because digging them up won’t get rid of them.

When she said don’t disturb the soil, that means no mowing, no digging, and no using poison on the plants.

Sales said the Municipality of North Cowichan should follow other jurisdictions on the island and write bylaws to help in the fight against this invasive species.

“Broombusters could draw more volunteers if we were able to put signs up, to let people know what we’re doing,” said Sales. “Parksville and Nanaimo have passed bylaws, since 2012, and it helps them immensely. Qualicum Beach and Campbell River passed bylaws last year.”

“North Cowichan is a unique place and it will need unique bylaws,” said Sales.

Best practices for removal include cutting the mature plants at ground level during the spring season.