Our annual Himalayan Balsam Campaign runs from May until late August each year and we are always looking for volunteers to help us hand-pull this invasive plant. It is good fun and remarkably therapeutic.
The Plant Positive project are inviting new people to join their band of volunteers who annually tackle one of the most troublesome non-native plant species on the Island’s rivers – Himalayan Balsam.
In summer the lower Eastern Yar, Scotchells Brook and Wroxall stream are almost uniformly covered in the Barbie doll pink blossom of the non-native plant Himalayan balsam. It also occurs in patches on the Medina River and Merstone Stream. As well as out-pollinating and out-shading our native flora and threatening the extraordinary biodiversity of our river habitats it dies back in winter, leaving our riverbanks bare and vulnerable to erosion and increased flooding. It is thought that this loss of plant diversity and bank erosion is also contributing significantly to the decline of one of the UK’s
We would love as many new volunteers as possible to join up for balsam-pulling so that we can keep up a sustained attack all summer. It’s an easy job, lots of fun and a great excuse to work outside in some of our loveliest river-side spots. We’ll are concentrating on the Wroxall, the Eastern Yar around Alverstone and the Medina and Merstone. Its great for individuals to come ‘on the pull’ with us, or we are happy to take out groups. We are also trialling cutting wide swathes of the plant with hand tools such as scythes and we now go out in winter too, to do practical conservation that prepares the sites for the summer.
If you would like to give a hand Himalayan Balsam-pulling this summer, please click here. No experience necessary as training will be given on the day.