We have just completed our third Himalayan Balsam Bashing Session (HBBS) – (18th July) – Thanks to all those who attended – I thought it would be a piece of cake after the previous two sessions – how wrong –  not only did we find new patches (on the steep banking above the wetland and below the path) but other patches that we had previously attacked had shown signs of vigorous re growth.

Reviewing our actions to date it seems that by far the most effective manner in dealing with this pernicious plant is to take hold round the stem, as low down as possible, and gently pull it upwards. With practice its possible to pull the whole plant complete with roots – thereby avoiding re growth. If the plant is cut, leaving the roots intact there is a very good chance that it will grow again! When the plants re grow they seem to flower more quickly and nearer to the ground making them more difficult to spot and increasing the likelihood that they will survive and spread seed! Having seen all the hard work that various members of the group have put in  think its definitely a case of “Do it right do it once” So if possible roots up!

So far we have been putting the uprooted stems in piles and on walls to dry out – If the piles are put adjacent to the path then its easy to keep an eye on them and spot any surviving plants. Remember we cannot take the uprooted plants off site for disposal (legal restrictions). In general terms its better to create a few large piles rather than many small ones. However it can be counter productive walking long distances over difficult ground to transport the stuff to a big pile – so I suppose each group needs to weigh up the pros and cons in the position where they are working. Piles of dead and decaying plant matter may not look that attractive – but hopefully if we are successful in our efforts there will be less in subsequent years.

We have two HBBS planned in August, 1st and 15th (apologies it says 18th in the Minutes of the last meeting) and it would seem sensible to carry or activity on into September – I will post some dates during August.

I’m sure our efforts will have a positive impact but we wont get any real feed back until the next growing season arrives! Well done to everyone, Including Roger Plum and his team from prospects – keep it up!

Very best wishes