Himalayan Balsam was found on the lower River Ayr today. This is disappointing to say the least but not something that hasn’t been expected to occur at some point.
I was spraying the few surviving Giant Hogweed plants on the Craigie stretch when I came across 4 plants. I sprayed rather than pull them, so that should take care of them and any seed they may have produced but we must now remain vigilant and check for more. The plants were downstream of Craigie footbridge, opposite the new university building. I checked the area carefully for more plants but found nothing so unlikely as it may seem, these may be the only ones. The plants were growing side by side so I suppose there is a chance that seed was deposited here in bird faeces but we will never know.
I urge all Ayr anglers to brush up on your plant ID skills and keep your eye out for this species. Anyone coming across Himlayan Balsam on the Ayr, please let us know of its exact location so that we may confirm then deal with it. Alternatively, if you can take a photo, and are confident that your ID is correct, do so then uproot it and make sure the plant is hung up for the roots to dry out. Please don’t forget to let us know! Should this become established on the Ayr it will be very expensive and difficult to eradicate and hugely damaging to the River habitat.