Saturday 13 June 2015

Himalayan Balsam at Turnditch Orchard

The River Ecclesbourne which runs along the foot of our orchard is a conduit for the seeds of the Himalayan Balsam (HB). This is an invasive weed which needs to be controlled. Over the  past couple of years we've been removing any HB we've found growing on the land. It is under control now. You have to be very ruthless about its removal before it has the chance to go to seed. The seed pods pop and explosively scatter seed over quite a distance when they are ripe.

However the adjoining field and the river upstream of our site are full of this resilient weed and provide a source of new "infections" of HB. I noticed some growing in the silt at the edge of our river a few days ago, so I donned some waders to deal with the weed. It is fairly easy to uproot the  weed roots and all by gently pulling on the stem. If you leave any broken off weed stems they soon regrow.

Here's a picture of before and after:

Himalayan Balsam at the Turnditch Orchard

Himalayan Balsam removed from river bank
Note I removed the pile of weeds shown in the lower photo, they'll be incinerated. There's useful leaflet about controlling the weed from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust here.

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