Introduced to the UK in 1839, Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a non-native, invasive species that spreads quickly. It is most commonly found on riverbanks, streams and wetlands, but recently it is appearing in gardens. The explosive nature of its seed dispersal means they can travel approximately 4 metres away from the original plant. When growing near water, the seeds can travel even further as they will be carried downstream, contaminating new locations.
Himalayan balsam can grow up to 3 metres tall. Between June and October it produces clusters of purplish pink (or rarely white) helmet-shaped flowers and red coloured stems. Himalayan Balsam also has green serrated leaves that are approximately 5 – 8cm in length.
Why is Himalayan Balsam such a problem?
Although Himalayan Balsam can be attractive when flowering, but its vigorous nature makes it impossible for native plants to compete.
- Once in seed, any touch to the pods will make them explode, firing their seeds as far as 4 metres away. Each plant can produce up to 800 seeds.
- It alters the ecological balance of the area where it grows, causing many other plant species to die.
Many of the following methods have been tried to remove the invasion of Himalayan Balsam:
- Removal by hand. Himalayan Balsam can be removed by hand but needs to be disposed of carefully as spreading this invasive species is a criminal offence. This will need to be done often before flowering in order to control the problem.
- Weed Killers – Most weed killers will need to be applied repeatedly to control this invasive weed.
- Cutting – Cutting the weeds before they seed can be an affective way to control the problem, however this does not eradicate the infestation.
We have the solution
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Contact a member of our team for a free, no obligation quotation.