During Saturday’s excursion with Justin & Neil I noticed a few patches of Himalayan Balsam just coming into flower – it won’t be long now until they start to spread their evil seeds. Each plant will produce around 2500 explosive seeds that will rapidly colonise previously unaffected ground – growing to over 2 meters tall and out-competing the native plants, spelling doom & disaster for the dependent wildlife and leaving acres of bare earth after the first frosts which will end up on the spawning gravels after the first spate of the winter. We hand-pulled several hundred plants, making sure to break them below the first node to prevent them re-sprouting.
I spoke to a passer-by who poured scorn on our efforts, deeming the effort to be like that of sisyphus rolling his rock to the top of the mountain, only to see it roll back down again and I guess, many would agree.
Charfield Angling Association has, this year, started an ambitious program to control, if not eradicate this invasive, non-native pest after seeing the fantastic progress made by the Monnow Rivers Association’s ‘Going Native’ project which aims to rid an entire catchment of Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and American Mink. So far this year they have treated an astonishing 48kms of the catchment and this will soon be followed up by working parties hand-pulling anything that was missed by the spraying teams. If anyone has any doubts that total eradication can be achieved I would strongly suggest that they contact the MRA here – I’m sure they will be pleased to offer advise and encouragement.