Himalayan Balsam is extremely widespread across the Tweed catchment and is very concerning. The Till sub-catchment has been treated since 2005, using a mixture of hand-pulling and spraying. The control coverage was stepped up in 2016. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to be able to control it across the entire catchment, but endeavour to keep it at bay on smaller watercourses by hand-pulling it each year. If you would like to volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Longer Term Solutions
In recognition of the high costs and effort involved in controlling Himalayan Balsam, and with the aim of reducing herbicide use, Tweed Forum were chosen to take part in a nationwide rust pathogen release and monitoring programme, funded by Natural England. Following extensive research and testing from CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) and approval from DEFRA, the rust pathogen was licensed for release. The initial releases, using live plants, were made in 2015 (May/June). Please see www.cabi.org/projects/project/32944 for more details. There will be future releases in 2017.
A rust infection is evident on this leaf (above).
Volunteers tackle the Gala!
Before the volunteers got to work (left) and after (right)