2 August 2022
Saturday 25th June 2022: Nineteen of us turned up at Haslam Park, Preston, for what has become an annual event – the Balsam Bash. It was a record turnout with members of IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch, Lancaster Canal Trust and Friends of Haslam Park.
The Lancaster Canal borders Haslam Park and so far, not a lot of Balsam has reached the edges of the canal from the park. We also wish to prevent seeds moving down Savick Brook which passes through the park into the Millennium Link between the canal and the River Ribble.
Why bother you ask – two reasons – Himalayan Balsam out-competes the native plants creating a monoculture which is bad for insects and other wildlife. It likes watercourses and when it dies back in winter its shallow roots do not bind the soil leading to erosion.
The technique is to pull up the alien invader, roots and all. Snap the hollow stems, put them on a pile and stamp on them. We leave the piles to quickly rot down. It’s very easy to pull up as the roots are so shallow. By this date many of the plants were well grown and easy to spot but had not yet flowered and produced seeds.