Edgmond Wildlife Group (EWG)
Report on Himalayan Balsam Control 2021
by Paula Doherty
Last year’s Himalayan Balsam Report was a lengthy document. This year’s will be much briefer.
Beginning on 21st May and working through until 14th September volunteers put in 69 hours of their time to control the Balsam. This year’s split between zones was Edgmond Hall land 55 hours, Harper Adams land 14 hours. No time was spent working along the Strine, although several HAU sessions included reaching out as far as possible into the Strine and topping the plants to reduce seed dispersal. The maximum number of volunteers we had on any day was 7, the minimum was one. The work was spread over 10 visits. All work was concentrated to the west of the bridge.
Volunteers were always properly briefed about health and safety issues and the two people who concentrated working on HAU land had signed a waiver.
It is difficult to quantify the reduction in plants from the previous year, but it is safe to say that there was something like a 90% reduction.
Whilst numbers of plants were significantly reduced, undoubtably even more plants on Edgmond Hall land could have been pulled if we could have had greater access during late August through to October. HAU land access was again on an ad hoc basis, and this proved to be the most efficient way of operating. The final visit to HAU land confirmed that we should ensure we follow the Strine westwards as far as possible next year as an outpost of infestation was discovered further along the brook than had previously been inspected.
We hope that both landowners allow us back onto their land later this year to continue the task.
We hope that forthcoming discussions between our Chair and Edgmond Hall management will result in a better way to manage visits for purposes of controlling Balsam at the Hall.
It is envisaged that a similar number of hours will be needed to control the Balsam in 2022.
Early access always helps, from early May is ideal.
EWG would like to thank the landowners for allowing access to prevent the further spread of this invasive species. Finally, again, a big ‘thank you’ goes to the determined volunteers without whose efforts this project would not have been possible.