(Above) Volunteers © Sarah Williams (Below) Himalayan balsam © Jane Franklin (Below) Himalayan balsam © Ali Quinney
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is urging local communities to work together to help stop the spread of invasive Himalayan balsam, which smothers and destroys native plants such as purple loosestrife and meadowsweet.
Himalayan balsam is native to West and Central Himalayas. It grows very quickly and is renowned for its pink trumpet-shaped flowers and hollow green stems. It can be found along river banks and other wetland areas.
DWT is encouraging those who live near streams and rivers to pull out and uproot any Himalayan balsam plants that are on owners’ land to help take action and help conserve our river beds and native plants for future generations.
"It's causing havoc along many Dorset Rivers"
DWT Trainee Conservation Officer, Ali Quinney said: “Himalayan balsam is causing havoc along many Dorset Rivers, and is a contributing factor to the erosion of our river banks, as well as destroying habitats for creatures such as the water vole. When it flowers, its seeds literally explode, making stopping its spread a very challenging task. It has very shallow roots which make it extremely easy to remove; just hold it firmly at the base and gently pull, making sure all the roots are out of the ground, and then dispose by burning or composting them.”
DWT and partner organisations* have already started managing rivers for invasive species with the ‘Return of the Natives’ project, which has dramatically halted the spread of Himilayan balsam on the Bere Stream and River Hooke. However, with the flowering season about to begin, it is vital that we act now to stop the problem worsening across the rest of Dorset.”
Find out more...
Himalayan balsam is categorised as a ‘non-native invasive plant’ and therefore if any of us have any growing on our premises we have a legal responsibility to prevent them spreading into the wild or causing a nuisance.
For more information about how you and your community can contribute to the conservation of your local river, contact Ali Quinney at Dorset Wildlife Trust on or phone 01305 264620.
For more information about Himalayan balsam, click here.
Notes to Editor
*Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Return of the Natives Project, in partnership with FWAG South West, Environment Agency, Dorset AONB and Natural England.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Follow us on Twitter @dorsetwildlife and facebook.com/dorsetwildlife
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.