Passionate about making the River Holme a better place for people, businesses and wildlife

Waging war on Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam image

Himalayan balsam is a non-native plant that spreads rapidly. It out-competes other native plant species, blocking light and killing them off, which reduces biodiversity. For this reason it is classed as an invasive weed.

Thankfully, Himalayan balsam can be controlled easily by non-chemical methods.

Where is Himalayan balsam found?

As Himalayan balsam requires moist soil it can often be found on river banks, and the River Holme is no exception.

How to identify Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam can grow up to 3m in height and has highly visible pink flowers on fleshy hollow stems. The stems are green in spring but gradually turn red as the season progresses. The leaves are elliptical in shape.

When is the best time to treat Himalayan Balsam?

Early summer, before the plant flowers and seeds is the best time to tackle Himalayan balsam.

Shallow roots make the balsam easy to pull out.

If seed pods have already developed beware. Touching the balsam may cause the seed pod to explode scattering seeds up to 7m away.

Can anyone 'bash balsam'?

Yes! Himalayan balsam is easy to pull out and isn't harmful. That means that anyone - no matter what their age - can get involved in bashing balsam. It can be quite therapeutic and is a great way to get young people involved in tackling non-native species.

Want to bash some balsam?

Keep an eye on our events page for details about our balsam bashing work parties.

Balsam Bash2 – web ready