Himalayan Balsam - Pull, Snap, Stomp
As attractive as it may look, Himalayan balsam causes widespread erosion of river and canal banks in the UK, leading to problems on towpaths, flooding and the suffocation of fish eggs.
What can you do?
If you are out for a walk along a waterway this summer, look out for Himalayan balsam. Whether you are walking the dog or out with family and friends, everyone can help by pulling up a few plants if you see it before the seeds have started to develop.
Here’s what to do:
- Pull - Check our Himalayan Balsam identification guide to be certain that it is Himalayan balsam and then pull up individual balsam stems – they pull up very easily,
- Snap – break off the root below the lowest growing node,
- Stomp - Put into a small pile to rot down, away from the path. Bigger piles can be stamped on to assist the rotting process – small children love doing this and it makes a great popping sound!
And that’s all there is to it.
Download the #PullSnapStomp Himalayan Balsam poster (2MB PDF)
Things to be aware of
- If the seeds have already developed then please don’t pull the Himalayan balsam as there is no benefit and you could spread it to new locations,
- Himalayan balsam is non-toxic, but it is still advisable to wash your hands after carrying out this activity (and before eating) due to animal-carried diseases such as Weils Disease,
- Be aware of the water’s edge or any steep drops and leave any plants that you can’t safely reach,
- Don’t trespass onto private land beyond the towpath or bank, and if anyone asks what you are doing – refer them to IWA’s campaign and website.
Find out more about Himalayan Balsam.
Help raise the public's awareness of Himalayan Balsam and the problems it causes by sharing our posts on Facebook and Twitter and using Hashtag #PullSnapStomp.
Let Us Know
Do you know an area that you believe would benefit from a Himalayan Balsam pulling session? Then contact us (details below).
You should also record the presence of Himalayan Balsam on a national database. This is easily done online via PlantTracker, a recording system created in partnership with the University of Bristol, Environment Agency and the Centre for Hydrology & Ecology, which can also be downloaded as an App, or via the Non-native Species Secretariat website. You should also report any locations of Himalayan Balsam to your local waterway office.
Don't Spread It
Ensure you don’t accidentally carry the seeds to a new area (eg on the bottom of your shoes or on the deck of a boat), and don’t place balsam flowers or stems on areas where it was not previously present.
Organise a Work Party
You could also organise your own Himalayan Balsam pulling work party or get involved with one that's already planned.
*Subject to availability.