Day 2 of #30DaysWild.
Squishing, crushing, stamping, stomping. A day of Himalayan balsam extermination.
A non-native, extremely invasive species. Out-competing native wildflowers. Changing the nature of habitats. Causing riverbank erosion.
I spent the day with colleagues and volunteers in a wet woodland pulling the balsam up with its shallow roots. The next step is to scrunch it up and stamp on it in a lovely big crunchy pile.
The pesky plant loves to grow amongst nettles and brambles. Nettle-proof clothing and safety goggles required.
Himalayan balsam started off in the UK as a garden flower. The seeds are small and light, and like to travel by water. The flower heads explode when ready, sending their seeds far and wide. Hence, it didn’t take long for this species to reach all over the country.
As we moved through the woodland clearing the dense swathes of balsam, the habitat began to look as a woodland should. I noticed an absence in invertebrates though. Maybe they’ll move in after our work.
I also got to lay on a soft and spongy raised bog, covered in mosses and cranberry. This habitat was very much full of life. Diddy diddy folk skittering away as we explored.
Chiffchaff were chiffchaffing, Song thrush were shouting, and Buzzard were mewing up above.
Himalayan balsam extermination. Satisfaction guaranteed.
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