Last summer with the help of volunteers from BTCV we hand pulled the Himalayan balsam in the Chapleton Burn, the source of the problem in the Doon. I went back today to see if there was much growing this year.

It was very encouraging to find that there appears to be considerably less about than there was last summer. Of course the plants are still quite small, up to 18″ high, but the seedlings didn’t appear to be very dense (if you look at a well established population at this time of year all you will see are balsam seedlings).

The picture above shows one of the worse spots.

They are easy to identify once you know what you are looking for (see photo below), the leaves branch from the stem in three’s, the stem is soft & fleshy and the veins have a reddish colouration. They can be pulled out of the ground no problem at this stage, although the stems are prone to breakage. Make sure you get the root out or it may grow again. I pulled quite a lot in a short while.  I just wish I had taken gloves; my hands were stung to bits by the nettles!