Himalayan Balsam Removal

What is Himalayan Balsam?

To mitigate the risk of contamination and destruction of nearby plants, manual control and removal of Giant Hogweed is often favourable. Cutting the plant out from the roots is highly effective, but must be undertaken with extreme care by experienced professionals.

Cutting the plants themselves will often only encourage faster regrowth and more flowering shoots, and in some cases can help spread the plant’s seeds even further. Strimming and trimming for cosmetic effect is not recommended.

Himalayan Balsam identification

Himalayan Balsam is a distinctive plant with reddish jointed stems and long, green, oval-shaped leaves. The flowers range from fuchsia to pale pink in colour and tend to appear between June and October, followed by seed pods that explode dispersing the seeds from late July to October.

The plant reproduced via seed with an exploding dispersal mechanism scattering seeds up to 7m from the parent plant. As the plant is most common around water, the seeds can be transported for great distances. 

The plant colonises areas rapidly, and although dying back quickly in winter, it will grow back annually spreading into the wider area due to its dense root system. It’s growth can cause localised flooring as well as erosion along riverbanks.

Himalayan Balsam legislation

Himalayan Balsam is listed under Schedule 9, meaning you have a legal responsibility to ensure the plant does not spread to neighbouring properties or adjoining land.

There have been cases of where surveyors have noted the presence of Himalayan Balsam within a property and can be taken into account by mortgage providers, potentially affecting the lending approval process. This is due to the plant being particularly persistent, and as a result treatment or excavation is often required to remove Himalayan Balsam.

The plant is also classified as controlled waste and therefore requires removal from a licensed waste carrier.

Himalayan Balsam Treatment

Chemical control

This is a common method to control the spread of Himalayan Balsam. Chemical control involves the application of specialised weed-killing chemicals to Himalayan Balsam plants, and often needs to be consistent over a number of seasons to be totally effective.

Due to legislation around spraying chemicals in the wild and near bodies of water, it is safest and most effective to hire professionals that can adhere to laws and best practice.

Manual control

Pulling or cutting Himalayan Balsam plants before they flower and set seed is the main form of manual Himalayan Balsam removal. Conservation authorities sometimes partake in “Balsam bashing” parties, but these must be undertaken with extreme caution, as studies have shown that this can actually help the plant to spread.

In all cases, we monitor your premises for up to five years following treatment and can provide every site with our mortgage-friendly 10 Year Insurance Backed Guarantee at additional cost.

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