Himalayan balsam is a very aggressive annual plant which has bullied out many of our native plants along waterways within Wales. The nature of the plant is such that it spreads seed very effectively but is very easily removed. By removing one plant you know that you have prevented up to 8001 new plants emerging the following year.
This satisfying work is essential on our Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve to ensure that our precious nature reserve is kept clear of this very invasive non native plant. So we are organising regular balsam bashes to ensure we keep the reserve clear. Some plants have come on the reserve so this work is essential before they set seed.
Come along to our volunteer days which run every Thursday from 10am – 4pm, meeting at the Welsh Wildlife Centre, call Howard to find out more 07964 833195.
To remove this weed we hand pull the plants, which come up very easily as they are shallow rooted, we then either detach the bottom of the plant and bag up to destroy or we hang the plants where they will dry out and die.
Himalayan balsam is an annual and because of this it leaves river banks clear of any vegetation over the winter months, this can lead to flooding and erosion of the river banks. Because of its bullish nature it also out competes most of our other plant life, leaving us with species poor rivers, this is bad for wildlife and for us.
Many bee keepers like this plant because it does provide a rich nectar source, but only for bees; not many other invertebrates feed off Himalayan balsam and it has been likened to giving the bees fast food. It certainly is a mono diet, providing little variety.