TO CELEBRATE Invasive Species week (13-17 May, 2019), The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is launching its annual Pull Snap Stomp campaign which aims to stamp out the spread of Himalayan balsam along river and canal banks.
Himalayan balsam is a non-native, invasive plant species that can be found along the banks of the UK’s waterways. It grows so quickly that it crowds out native wildflowers and takes over large swathes of ground. Growing up to three metres in height, it makes an impressive sight with its reddish stems and pink-purple flowers, but the plant has no root stock, so once it dies back, the ground is susceptible to erosion, especially during the wet winter months.
Himalayan balsam stems are easy to pull out and leave the ground with a very pleasing ‘pop’ which makes it a fun family activity. IWA is seeking volunteers both young and old to help remove the plants from towpaths during June and July before it has a chance to go to seed and spread its stranglehold even further. Volunteers are being asked to take just five minutes out of their walk to PULL up the stems, SNAP off the root and STOMP down on it to speed up the rotting process.
IWA is asking members of the public to either sign up for an online information pack in order to pull up Himalayan balsam on a family walk or to join a local IWA branch Balsam Bash work party. To see where the Balsam Bashes are running or to request an information pack, please visit www.waterways.org.uk/himalayanbalsam. Balsam Bashes will take place during late June/early July.
More information on this non-native, invasive species can also be found on the IWA website at www.waterways.org.uk/himalayanbalsam.
If you find Himalayan balsam and pull any up, please post a photo on social media using #PullSnapStomp.