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Friday, 21 July 2017

Concern at spread of invasive plant

Himalayan Balsam. PHOTO: ERICA MARTIN
CONCERNED about the spread of Himalayan balsam, even beyond the rivers and canals where it has usually been found, the Inland Waterways Association has launched a new campaign to encourage everyone to get involved in controlling this invasive plant, according to a report in Towpath Talk.

Himalayan Balsam is now encraching on to Maisemore bridge from the Gloucester side of the river.

The IWA wants to see more individuals helping to control the plant following warnings in national newspapers and elsewhere that the plant has become even more widespread this year.

Whether people are walking the dog or out with family and friends, everyone can help by pulling up a few plants if they see it before the seeds have started to develop. IWA has come up with a 3 stage check list, Pull Snap Stomp, to remind people what to do:

    Pull – Check IWA’s Himalayan Balsam identification guide to be certain that it is Himalayan balsam and then pull up individual balsam stems – they pull up very easily,
    Snap – break off the root below the lowest growing node,
    Stomp – Pile it up in small heaps for it to rot down, away from the path. Bigger piles can be stamped on to assist the rotting process – small children love doing this and it makes a great sound!

And that’s all there is to it, although IWA does also ask people not to trespass onto private land beyond the towpath or bank, to only pull up the Himalayan balsam where it is safe to do so, and not to pull up any plants once the seeds have developed later in the summer, in order to avoid it being spread to new locations.

Further advice and information about Himalayan Balsam and the Pull Snap Stomp campaign can be found on IWA’s website, including a downloadable poster, and people are being encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #PullSnapStomp.

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