This May, the Washington Invasive Species Council, state agencies and researchers are calling for a census to help determine the location of Scotch broom throughout the state.

Scotch Broom is a Problem

Source: Washington State Department of Agriculture

Yellow flowered, Scotch broom is hard to miss when blooming. It can be found in 30 of Washington’s 39 counties. While known to be spread across the state, specific locations and patch sizes are not well documented, leading to the council’s call for a month-long census.

Scotch broom is a problem because it crowds out beneficial native species and clogs healthy habitats. It can form dense, impenetrable stands that are a problem for grazing, farming and recreating and it creates fire hazards. Dense stands may prevent or slow forest regeneration and harm sensitive areas near streams and wetlands. Scotch broom also produces toxic compounds, which in large amounts may poison grazing animals.

Report Your Sightings

Sightings should include a photograph of the plant that shows enough detail that the plant can be verified by an expert. Tips for taking good photos can be found in the Washington Pest Watch Citizen Science Handbook.

A description of the size of the patch is also helpful, such as whether the patch is the size of a motorcycle, a car, a school bus or multiple school buses.

Photographs also can be shared with the council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #TheGreatScotchBroomCensus and #ScotchBroom2020Census.

Source: Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board

Help Find Solutions

While widespread and not likely to be fully eliminated from the entire state, action is being taken to remove Scotch broom from parks, roadsides, forests, riverbanks and other at-risk landscapes.

The information from the Scotch broom census will help invasive species managers better understand the needs of landowners and managers. If you are a landowner and report the information, we will provide information and technical assistance to help you safety and effectively manage the problem.

Learn More and Get Involved

People that have Scotch broom or would like to get involved in stopping it can find additional help with an online seminar series June 2-4 being organized by the council and its partners, who are working together to share the newest information from throughout the Pacific Northwest so everyone can better address this shared problem.

Additional Resources