Time to pull Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is in flower and will be going to seed in the next few weeks, so the time to get it pulled is now! I've just spent the day at Fulford Ings, clearing along the bank of the River Ouse. It's tragic that balsam is coming up in the middle of tansy clumps, destroying the habitat of the endangered tansy beetle, known as the 'Jewel of York'. Where there is such precious vegetation, I pull out the balsam by hand, but in other places where it has reached saturation point, it can more quickly be removed with a long-handled slasher.

Himalayan balsam on the river bank

I'm trying to clear a half-mile stretch, just to the south of York. Further down river, the balsam has already reached saturation point along large stretches of the banks. It's not only displacing the native vegetation, but also damaging the river banks themselves. In winter, when the balsam dies down, it leaves bare earth which is easily eroded away. It's an environmental disaster, but one that could be stopped if enough people had the will.

Tansy beetles


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