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Himalayan Balsam (again..)

From Rob Blake

Monday, 20 June 2011

It's that time again and the Balsam is shooting up all over the place.

Rather than get into a debate about chemical or biological control, I would like to draw your attention to the following article from the BBC website.

I know it would be a huge undertaking, but I think that with the right planning, we could do the same around here in two or three years time.

Just a thought...

From Cllr James Baker

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Hi Rob, I'm not an expert on Himalayan Balsam, but I assume the problem is that it crowds out other species due to it's dominance within the ecosystem. A shame because when in flower it looks and smells quite nice. I have heard someone say it makes quite good compost.

Something like that would be possible I suspect, there is an annual spring clean that goes along the river to clean things up after all! I would recommend writing to the Town Council with a suggestion of such an operation. It could be done with a task force of local volunteers.

From C John

Thursday, 23 June 2011

We have a succesful residents clean up each year in the Eastwood area, and keep the overall spread of Balsam to a controlled area of the Calder River. Total elimination is far beyond the small group of 5-6 who tackle this each year, but it does at least contribute to alleviating some of the problem. I hate the stuff, even when it's flowering, as it just removes any features of the water side landscape making eveything monochrome and bland.

From Anthony Rae

Friday, 1 July 2011

As some of you may have already seen both on the ground and referred to in my letter to HB Times this week, Calder Future and a big team of RSA Insurance group volunteers have recently cleared a very long stretch of the railway embankment alongside the riverside walk leading from the station towards Walkley's. You can read more on the Calder Future website here.

Calder Future is also preparing a bid for continuing its balsam management programme, with an emphasis on the headwaters of the River Calder around Todmorden, to be undertaken with communities and partners including Calderdale's Youth Offending Team. I doubt if we will be venturing into the river as in Rob's useful Nottinghamshire example but it could represent a more systematic response to the problem.


From Jenny T

Monday, 26 September 2011

Himalayan balsam seems to grow only where the soil is degraded and disturbed. The seeds and flowers are edible, and given that it is related to jewelweed it is likely a good medicine for the treatment of poison ivy (as a salve.)

Instead of calling for a balsam genocide, why not just eat it? It's pretty fun harvesting the pods.


P.S. It's been said that the idea of invasive species was created to enrich the pockets of pesticide companies.


From Andy M

Monday, 3 October 2011

Jenny - I think that the entire population of Calderdale would need to come down with Poison Ivy poisoning about once a week to use up the available Balsam resource!

See also

HebWeb Forum: We are being invaded! (June 2010)