IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch

15 July 2023

Written by

David Faulkner

On Saturday 2nd July 2023, a small group of volunteers 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, and Friends of Haslam Park.

Saving the Lancaster Canal from Erosion

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 Ribble 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 of the banks, and thus a greater need for dredging.

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.

Find out more about Himalayan Balsam and other invasive plants on the waterways.

[The photo shows Malcolm Sterratt amongst the invasive Balsam at Haslam Park  –  by David Faulkner]