NINETEEN volunteers recently turned up at Haslam Park, Preston, for what has become an annual event – the Balsam Bash.
It was a record turnout with members of IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch, Lancaster Canal Trust and Friends of Haslam Park taking part.
The Lancaster Canal borders the park and so far, not a lot of balsam has reached the edges of the canal from the park.
The plan was to prevent seeds moving down Savick Brook which passes through the park into the Millennium Link between the canal and the River Ribble.
Himalayan balsam outcompetes the native plants, creating a monoculture which is bad for insects and other wildlife. It likes watercourses and when it dies back in winter its shallow roots do not bind the soil, leading to erosion.
The technique is to pull up the alien invader, roots and all, snap the hollow stems, put them on a pile and stamp on them. The piles are then left to quickly rot down. It’s very easy to pull up as the roots are so shallow.
By this date many of the plants were well grown and easy to spot but had not yet flowered and produced seeds.
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