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  • Writer's pictureMark Calverley

2022 Balsam Bashing

A number of local residents once again tackled the Himalayan Balsam that is invading Toadsmoor Valley. Significant effort was expended in Bisley, the meadows near Nash End and along the floor of the valley through to Toadsmoor pond.

Although Himalayan Balsam is known as an annual, the size of this year's plants suggest that a number are now able to overwinter due to the milder winters resulting from climate change. This means it is even more important to remove the plants by their roots.

To maintain a natural ecosystem, it is important to reduce the extent of the invasive non-native Himalayan Balsam. The species is very adept at colonising large areas of land, due its seed head exploding and casting seed up to 7m. Coupled with an ability to grow in shade and scrub, the plants then grow tall and compete with native species, resulting in the native species being crowded out.

The majority of plants have now set seed or seeded so the battle against Balsam will continue into 2023. Given the scale of the problem we need volunteers to join the small band of people presently working on this local issue. Our response needs to mirror the Balsam by rapidly increasing our numbers! Generally, the work is undertaken for an hour or two by a group of friendly volunteers. It is a social activity. Also, if you need to undertake voluntary activities, such as DofE then it is an easy way to build volunteering hours whilst enjoying our wonderful environment.

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