WHAT IS HIMALAYAN BALSAM?
Himalayan Balsam was introduced to the UK in 1839 and is found especially on riverbanks and in waste places.
Himalayan balsam is a tall growing annual, 2-3m (6-10ft) in height. Between June and October it produces clusters of purplish pink (or rarely white) helmet-shaped flowers.
Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds. These are dispersed widely as the ripe seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m (22ft) away.
WHY IS HIMALAYAN BALSAM A PROBLEM?
During the summer months Himalayan balsam attracts pollinators away from native species due to its high sugar nectar content and extended flowering Himalayan balsam grows mainly in vegetated areas and damp woodlands where its spread by its prolific seed production its highly effective dispersal mechanism. Himalayan balsam can grow to a height of 2.5 metres and when it invades the riverbank it forms monocultures shadowing out native plants and restricting access to the river.
In the autumn when the plant dies back it can leave the bank bare of supporting vegetation and prone to erosion, dead plant material can enter the water body thereby increasing the risk of flooding.
HOW DO YOU REMOVE HIMALAYAN BALSAM?
Method 1- spraying / Hand pulling.
Himalayan balsam should be sprayed in spring before flowering, but trimming or hand pulling should be your preferred option for control of this plant.
Method 2 – Digging Up Excavation
Firstly you may need to remove soil up to 6 metres from the parent plant and to a depth of 0.5 metres. You should not remove soil while the seed pods are present. You will need to check for re-growth regularly. You should pull by hand or trim re-growth before the plants flower.