Sweet Broom Shrub Care – How To Plant Broom Shrubs
The following are some facts about sweet broom:
1) Sweet Broom Shrub (Raccoon Grass) is a native grass which grows wild in many parts of the world.
It was first introduced into North America by European settlers in the 1700’s. Today it is one of the most common plants found growing wild along roadsides, ditches, waste areas and other open areas.
2) It is a perennial herbaceous perennial with small rounded leaves and dark green or purple flowers.
Its flower color ranges from yellowish white to pale pink. The flowers are followed by seeds which fall to the ground after flowering.
These seeds germinate and grow into new plants when they mature.
3) It is widely cultivated for its edible leaves, which are used in soups, stews and salads.
They are also eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach. The leaves can be chewed whole or shredded and added to soup or stir fried with vegetables.
You may even use them as a substitute for lettuce in sandwiches!
4) It is easy to grow, requires little water and provides good nutrition for livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats and horses.
The seeds can also be ground into flour.
5) It is related to the genus Genista (Broom) and is sometimes referred to as Yellow Broom-Genista.
6) The plant prefers well drained, slightly acidic soil.
It does not tolerate water-logging or hard compacted soils. It is beneficial in controlling erosion.
It fixes nitrogen in the soil.
7) Its roots are shallow but wide spreading.
They do not invade the soil or restrict drainage like most deep-rooted plants. They increase the surface area of the soil and allow moisture and nutrients to be available to other plants.
8) Broom Shrub is closely related to LadinoClover, which is also a nitrogen-fixing legume.
Together they make a very efficient pasture plant.
9) It can be used as a honey source in some areas.
How to plant broom shrub?
1) Choose a location with full sun.
2) It grows in most types of soil but prefers sandy or gravelly soils.
It does not grow well in poorly drained areas or locations that remain wet. It tolerates light frosts and can be grown in Zones 3 to 10, with the best yields produced in the warmer climate zones.
3) Space the plants 25cm apart (10 inches).
4) Water the shrubs during dry periods.
5) The shrubs should be fertilized in early spring with an organic fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Fertilizer can be applied at a rate of 100g per shrub (0.22 pounds).
Sources & references used in this article:
Seed germination in the exotic shrub Cytisus scoparius (Scotch broom) in California by CC Bossard – Madrono, 1993 – JSTOR
Logging debris and herbicide treatments improve growing conditions for planted Douglas-fir on a droughty forest site invaded by Scotch broom by TB Harrington, DH Peter, RA Slesak – Forest Ecology and Management, 2018 – Elsevier
Aspects of the ecology of broom (Cytisus scoparius) in Canterbury, New Zealand by PA Williams – New Zealand journal of botany, 1981 – Taylor & Francis
Establishment of Arytainilla spartiophila Förster (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), a new biological control agent for broom, Cytisus scoparius, in New Zealand by P Syrett, SV Fowler, HM Harman… – New Zealand …, 2007 – Taylor & Francis
Plants traditionally used to make brooms in several European countries by AM Nedelcheva, Y Dogan, PM Guarrera – Journal of Ethnobiology and …, 2007 – Springer