BALSAM BASHING BEGINS
Balsam bashing season is underway and our volunteers have been out in force pulling Himalayan balsam, a non- native and destructive plant from riverbanks. Our strategy to start at the top of the Tyne catchment and work our way downstream is working well; year on year we are seeing less balsam in the same spot which is an encouraging sign.
West Woodburn on the River Rede is one area where we have seen a vast improvement. Last year the Himalayan balsam was incredibly dense and took 4 days to clear, whereas this year there were less than 50 plants which our hard working volunteers cleared in an hour.
Himalayan balsam was originally introduced to the UK as a garden plant and grows densely on riverbanks. Although, it has pretty pink flowers it erodes river banks, out-competes native species and can hinder flow in times of high rainfall which has an impact on flooding.
It’s easy to pull out so we work with volunteers to clear huge patches. If you’d like to get involved take a look at our volunteering page.