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Sweetpea

Scotch Broom

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I recently purchased four Scotch Broom shrubs. I came home and went on line to find out more about these interesting looking shrubs, only to find that they are very invasive and will try to take over my yard. Should I just give up now and return them, or take a chance?

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I would return them.

 

There are two terms that get used: aggressive and invasive.

 

Aggressive would be plants that will want to take over a large area, but in general will stay contained in your yard. Think of plants like sumac, Annabelle or oak leaf hydrangea, ajuga, some geraniums.

You can control these plants with watching them in your yard and keep them under control - cutting them back, digging them up, spraying them.

 

Invasive would be plants that can easily spread from your yard to the woods down the street, a neighbors yard across the street, into the unmanaged roadside. They spread mostly by seeds carried by birds, animals and people (think of seeds that land on the driveway and get stuck in the mud on the tires or land on the windshield of the car, and then fall off while driving down the road.)

While you can control these plants in your landscape with pruning, digging out seedlings and such, the seeds that germinate outside of your landscape can grow and spread.

Think if plants like garlic mustard, oriental bittersweet, buckthorn - where it is the seeds that get carried to other locations and then stands of that plant get a foothold and become very hard to control.

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Guest dcsmith796

And I don't know how it behaves in Michigan, but if you ever walk or drive through the central California chaparral, you will see just how efficient broom can be at spreading itself next door, down the road, across the river, over the mountain, into the next county...

 

I really like broom, and think it would be great in the sandy "pine barrens" soil of the family place up north, but seeing it in CA stopped me. I have enough trouble with Eleagnus umbellata and (to a lesser extent) Rosa multiflora to risk it.

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Cytisus scoparious, right? We rarely see them even thrive in Michigan gardens over the long run, let alone in the wild. In Ireland, in California, we've seen otherwise; there it's very invasive,. And we hear from our far side of the world members that it's so in New Zealand, too. Oregon, Washington State, Idaho, Hawaii all list it as an invasive. They're all milder-winter places or drier... perhaps it's the Great Lakes humid continental climate (wet in summer, with huge summer-winter temperature difference) that is not to their liking.

 

Great information about the different behavior of plants at plants.usda.gov, including where it can be found native and naturalized, and which areas list it as invasive.

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