…well, not really bashing, more like gently pulling the balsam out of the riverside.
Today the TCV Stirling Midweek Group was out at Muiravonside again, no not more rhododendron removal, this time we were pulling Himalayan Balsam from it’s cosy nooks in the banks of the river.
This plant is extremely invasive and a non-native to boot! It can spread extremely quickly over large areas of land and out competes the native plants. The Himalayan Balsam is an annual plant usually found near rivers, meaning that it grows very quickly once spring comes then flowers and drops its seeds before dying back in the winter. This means that any river bank it’s found on can experience severe erosion during the winter as there’s nothing holding onto the earth.
The best way to remove Himalayan Balsam from a site is to hand pull it during set times every year over several years after the plant has grown enough to identify it, but before it actually flowers and drops its seeds. So around May-July (ish!). This ensures that no seeds can disperse to make next year’s crop of plants (each plant can produce up to 200!) and is an easy, if time consuming, way of removing the plants from the site.
It’s pretty easy to identify by its three leaf arrangement and you may even see a tinge of pink around the leaves, and more often around the base of the plant near the roots.
We had a good day removing all the Balsam we could find from part of the riverside at the Country Park and as always met some nice dogs, saw some wonderful wildlife and had a well deserved cup of tea! We always welcome new volunteers and if you’d like to join us click on this link to #JoinInFeelGood!