Sunday, 22 June 2008

Report on Balsam Pulling, Sunday 22nd June 2008

A successful, albeit breezy day in which quite a lot of the pesky balsam got pulled up.

Eleven people attended in total - which was pretty good considering what a decidedly 'unsummery' day it was! Thanks everyone!

As you know Himalayan Balsam is a so-called 'alien' plant (from the Western Himalayas). Last week FoCM member David Hume sent me a link to an interesting paper on alien plants; here it is:

Basically this paper questions the current orthodoxy that alien plants are always bad. It also makes the point that some of our native plants (brambles, ivy etc.) can be equally invasive.

Neverthless, in the place where we worked on Sunday, which is just below the river bank on the edge of Chorlton Ees, the balsam has got a bit out of hand. This and other areas tend to be swamped with it - particularly those with, what I suspect are, nutrient rich, alluvial soils. The Chorlton Ees site shades into one with a rich fern and moss flora. It's a good job that the balsam is an annual, and not a perennial, or we would have lost the mosses and ferns some years ago. It just goes to show that questions related to nature conservation are never simple. I suppose that the key principle is to create a mosaic of habitats and, hence, encourage maximum biodiversity.

Finally, the young man in the picture above is Edward Fairhurst. Edward is a big fan of the Meadows and is working towards his Duke of Edinburgh's Award. We wish him every success with that and hope to see him on some of our future volunteers' days.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

A very successful day of clearing some of the massive amounts of HIMALYAN BALSAM.


Anonymous said...

Edward has gone on to successfully achieve his Duke of Edinburgh Bronxe Awards