Himalayan Balsam in Nutclough Woods
From Mo Ludlam
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
It's back folks. There are an awful lot of seedlings sprouting in Nutclough woods by the stepping stones over the stream. It would be really good if those of you that walk in the woods can pull up a handful every time you visit. This invasive species can produce up to 50 seedlings per plant. If left to grow they will wipe out our native species that make Nutclough woods such a joy to walk in.
From Andy M
Friday, 31 March 2017
A good time of the year to control it but there's a risk of pulling-up other wildflowers if you're not absolutely sure what it looks like which would be counter-productive (and illegal)
Photo here of young plants
From Adrian Riley
Friday, 31 March 2017
Wait until the Balsam stem has grown much taller. June is a good time. It cannot then be mistaken for other plants and is easy to pull up, often dozens in one handful, with less backache.
The main point to bear in mind is be methodical and don't ignore the tiny ones. Work from the outliers and inwards towards a centre.
Place all the pulled stems in separate convenient heaps. Then trample the heaps to squash them (very satisfying noise). Otherwise some will remain alive, flower and then seed.
The worst method is pulling and flinging them about, as they can still flower if stems not squashed and it all looks a horrible mess.
Even as late in the year as September, rogue Balsam can still suddenly grow from seed. So don't give up too early.
Being an annual plant it can easily be got rid of permanently. But if there isn't the determination to work to a plan then it is probably best not to bother.
Take no notice of all those wanderers by who invariably say "you're wasting your time" but never offer any help.
Finally, Balsam takes a hold on bare ground and may be an indicator the woodland is too shady.
From Rob Blake
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
I wrote previously about CABI releasing a co-evolved rust fungus in the upper Colden Valley in an attempt to provide a natural control for the Himalayan Balsam.
To my untrained eyes, it would seem that it hasn't worked, for now at least.
I've been scouring the web for news of this effort but have not found any recent official news.
It would be great to hear about any progress, or otherwise.
The project web page is here
From Jae Campbell
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
From Reg Slater
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Oh to be in Colden now that April’s there.
And whoever walks in Colden finds, some morning, unaware
That the clough below is a carpet of green
The like of which you’ve seldom seen
The glorious balsam has emerged from sleep
A sight to make the bashers weep.
And after April when May follows
Tall fragrant flowers will fill the hollows
The basher clubs will buzz with hate
“We’ll trash this plant – it deserves it’s fate
It’s an alien from a foreign shore
A creeping menace and a huge eyesore”
The bashers - amongst their many rants
Will claim it displaces our native plants
A claim denied by botanical research
But facts won’t deter the basher nerks
Those pink flowers will drive them mad
To an orgy of destruction – so very sad.
These magnificent plants have a glorious display
And enchant all summer with their fragrant bouquet
On river bank, clough, or woodland flush
The air is suffused with balsam’s wondrous stuff
To those who understand these plants
Know that the bashers are talking pants.
And when summer is done and autumn showers
This amazing plant will still have flowers
A feast of nectar it will continually provide
When most other plants have faded and died
Manna for insects and our beleaguered bees
This magnificent bounty bashers cannot conceive.
Those who think this plant will retreat
From vindictive pulling and trampling feet
From poisonous sprays and their pathogen pox
Assaults by CABI ? – this plant only mocks
Despite all the hatred this plant will live on
It will survive Armageddon - even Kim Yong.