The Return of Scot's DOOM

Winter had been long and cold. Following tradition, I suspended my war on Scot's Broom (Cytisus scoparius) - suspended, not ended. I spent the cold, dark months in preparation.

See this? This is how you lose a war. While I was trying to keep warm, my nemesis was thinking about what he always thinks about: Sex. We get 3 days of above 60° weather and the flowers come popping out. Pretty, pretty flowers - same damn flowers that enticed someone to bring 'em over in 1848.

This is the "before" shot. I needed to clean up that mess in the foreground and get to chopping.

There's lots of ways to fight this weed - each one as useless as the last. The "approved" method is "weed wrenching" where you use a specialized wrench to rip the plant out of the ground. The city made a good run at doing this a couple years ago, then gave up. That pile in the foreground is some of what they left. Weed wrenching is nice because - when used correctly - it pulls the root ball out of the ground.

The problem with weed wrenching: It tears up the soil, making it perfect for seeds to germinate. I use a hatchet, specifically a Cold Steel Frontier Hawk. This hatchet is nice and light and has a pretty small cutting edge, so the force is concentrated.

I cut down at a very sharp angle, trying to get all the way through the stem in one chop to minimize soil disturbance. It doesn't always work, but the biggest disturbance I've ever made with a hatchet is tiny in proportion to a weed wrench. The con to chopping is the plant is not dead - you have to reapply as often as needed. That doesn't look good on funded projects, but it'll give me something to do for decades to come.

Here's the after shot - 90 minutes of whacking and stacking. I freed up several small trees - which is nice.

One thing I do is pile the bodies. With luck, someone will complain to the city and they can come out and pick up the piles easily. And yes, that is a veritable forest of Scot's Broom behind the pile.