The last organised volunteer balsam pull for this year with South Cumbria Rivers Trust took place at a site near Skelwith Bridge on Saturday 30th August. Vanda and I met up with Jen at 10 am. Sadly, no one else turned up; after waiting a while, our small band set to work.
|Invasive Himalayan Balsam at Skelwith Bridge. It readily out competes,|
and shades out our native plants, reducing diversity, and denuding river banks of understory vegetation. Winter die back exposes the bare soil to erosion.
|Because it was so late in the season, bin bags were used to contain the ripe seed pods; they would be incinerated later. Many of the pods could be heard popping inside the bag!|
|Cutting the stem with the seed pods ready to put in a bin bag. A single plant can produce 800 seeds and project the seeds up to 4 metres away; hence the plant can spread with phenomenal speed over a few seasons.|
|An awkward site. I am in a silted up drainage ditch.|
|Vanda, National Trust colleague,|
|and Jen. South Cumbria Rivers Trust. and organiser of the |
Himalayan Balsam pulling events.
|It is easy to see why the Victorians were so taken with this plant.|
They had no idea of how invasive Himalayan Balsam would become away
from its natural habitat.
|Bees are drawn to this invasive species. Note proboscis already extended!|
Thanks to all at Chesters.