17 volunteers celebrated Earth Day at White Rose Lane Reserve on Monday 24th April, by removing invasive Himalayan Balsam seedlings.
A big thank you to all involved, including teams from local CSG and RPS offices, as well as regular Woking Biodiversity Group volunteers.
Himalayan Balsam was introduced in the UK as a garden plant in 1839, but soon escaped and became widely naturalised along riverbanks. It is fast-growing and spreads quickly, invading wet habitat at the expense of native plants. Its explosive seed pods can disperse the seeds up to 7m away; growing along riverbanks enables further dispersal downstream. As noted on the RHS site (https://www.rhs.org.uk/weeds/himalayan-balsam), each plant can produce up to 800 seeds, which can remain viable for two years. An additional challenge for native plants is pollination, as the balsam is such a good source of nectar that bees will often visit it in preference to native plants.
This session was an experimental one to remove the seedlings before they grow full size (well over head height) and flower in the summer, so a lot less effort and a lot less organic waste to manage. The group made great progress, with the coordinates of the area cleared noted (using what3words), so we can monitor it when we go back for the next session – check out the Woking Biodiversity page.
Wonderful effort. Could we please have a map and/or a photo for those of us who were not there but would like to look at the results of your effort?
Dear Bea. I hope you are keeping well. I am sorry that I wasn’t sent a map or a photo for those of us were not there including myself that shows the results of the Biodiversity work.