Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

Scotch Broom ChallengeScotch_Broom_Picture_from_Brochure_14.png

Local groups and agencies are teaming up to encourage local landowners, businesses, organizations, agencies, and basically anyone who is affected by the invasion of Scotch broom, to start physically removing the plant.  We hope to help educate and get people motivated in the region to combat this invasive weed.

If you would like to suggest or host a site for an upcoming challenge, or would like to participate in a Scotch Broom Challenge please contact contact us.

Scotch Broom Challenge sites - Check out photos and video of some of the Scotch Broom Challenge sites.

What’s the fuss about?

Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is a highly aggressive, non-native, invasive weed species.  It was introduced to the United States as an ornamental and as packing material for cases of whiskey and beer from the British Isles, central and southern Europe.  It is now considered a pest plant by many eastern and western states.

Why is this plant considered a pest?

  • Scotch broom is highly flammable
  • Displaces native and beneficial vegetation
  • Costly in areas where forest production is impeded by its growth
  • Forms dense stands which impede movement of wildlife, livestock, and degrades wildlife habitat
  • Plants in excess quantity can be toxic to humans, horses, and livestock
  • Scotch broom usually reproduces by seed, and rarely reproduce vegetatively
  • Seeds can live in the seedbank for over 80 years!
  • One shrub can produce thousands of seeds (up to 15,000) after two years of growth
  • Seeds can be transported over long distances by animals, humans, water, and vehicles
  • Scotch broom can tolerate a wide range of environmental and soil conditions

Why pull Scotch and other broom?  Check out this very well done video on the work being done in Marin County by the volunteer "Extractigators" below.  They are kindred spirits with the hundreds of annual volunteers the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County engages to pull broom, as part of our SCOTCH BROOM CHALLENGE!

Martin County Extractigators - Why we pull broom

How Can I Identify Scotch Broom?


Scotch Broom Gall Mite

UC California Scotch Broom Power point on Gall Mite - University of California Cooperative Extension

Broom Gall Mite - The Biological Control of Weeds Book, New Zeland

Mighty Mite May Bring Hope Against Notorious Weed - University of California Cooperative Extension

Weed wrenches used to remove Scotch Broom can now be borrowed from the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County throughout the year, except for March and April, during the Scotch Broom Challenge. Download an application to borrow a weed wrench, or stop by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County’s office at 139 E. Main Street in downtown Grass Valley.  It is advisable to call 530-272-1122 first to check on availability of the weed wrenches and office hours.

How to use a Weed Wrench

Community Partners:

  • Alta Sierra Property Owners Association

  • Banner Mountain HOA

  • Bureau of Land Management 

  • Bear River Watershed Group

  • Bear Yuba Land Trust

  • CA Invasive Plant Council

  • CA Native Plant Society, Red Bud

  • CA State Parks

  • Cal Fire

  • City of Nevada City

  • Eskaton Village

  • Friends of Oak Tree Park

  • Friends of Sugarloaf Mountain

  • Fire Safe Council of Nevada County

  • Greater Alta Sierra Firewise Community

  • Greater Cement Hill Neighborhood Association/Firewise Community

  • Greater Champion Mine Neighborhood Association

  • Lake Wildwood Homeowners Association/Firewise Community

  • Master Gardeners of Nevada County

  • Mountain Lakes Estates HOA/Firewise Community

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • Nevada County Resource Conservation District

  • Nevada County Ag Commissioner

  • Nevada County Farm Supply

  • Nevada County Fire Chief’s Association

  • Nevada County Forestry Committee

  • Nevada County Sheriff  & Sheriff Volunteers

  • Nevada County Transportation Department

  • Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District

  • NUHS Kiwanis Key Club

  • North San Juan Fire Department

  • Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply

  • Penn Valley Rotary Club

  • Placer County Ag Commissioner

  • Placer County Land Trust

  • Placer Sierra Fire Safe Council

  • Prospector Nursery

  • Rattlesnake Ridge HOA

  • Salvation Army—Camp Delro

  • South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)

  • The Sierra Club

  • Twin Cities Church

  • Tahoe National Forest

  • Wolf Creek Community Alliance

  • Yuba-Bear Watershed Council

  • Yuba Watershed Institute

  • Woolman School