Invasive Plant Drop-off Days set

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By JANE PETCH

Special to the Driftwood

Islanders are asked to help reduce the threat of fire on Salt Spring Island by cutting Scotch broom and gorse and bringing it to upcoming Invasive Plant Drop-off events.

The first one is set for the Fulford fire hall on Saturday, May 23. The second is on Sunday, June 7 at the Central fire hall. Material will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on both days.

Broom and gorse are a real fire hazard, especially in these hot dry summers. They are covered in flammable oils; they outcompete native vegetation and spread; and they are both fire accelerators. A corridor of broom and gorse means a fire corridor that is extremely difficult for firefighters to control.

People should cut broom in bloom before the summer drought, as close to the ground as possible. If the plant is over the thickness of a pencil, do not pull the broom as pulling disturbs the soil, exposes seeds already in the soil to light, and encourages a forest of little seedlings.

An excellent video at broombusters.org shows how to remove broom, (and how Qualicum Beach became 99 per cent broom free).

Remove gorse any way you can, at any time, and be prepared to follow up in subsequent years. One way to get rid of gorse is to cut it below the root ball which can be quite deep. If nothing else, cut off the flowers.

The Invasive Plant Drop-Off, also for other invasive alien weeds like holly and spurge laurel, is brought to you by the Salt Spring Fire Department and the Native Plant Stewardship Group with Transition Salt Spring. Donations are gratefully accepted to cover chipping costs.

Please, no rocks or soil on the plant roots to protect the chipper, and no giant hogweed.

Fresh, green broom can be taken to Eco-Reality Co-op, for the goats. Call ahead to 250-653-2024.

COVID-19 distancing procedures will be in place at the fire hall to protect both volunteers and people who bring in their cut plants. 

For more information, please call me at 250-537-0880.

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