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The objective of any Himalayan Balsam control measures and treatment plan is to prevent the plant flowering, dispensing its seeds and spreading further afield.
Himalayan Balsam can spread through its exploding seed pods. When mature and dry, these pods can explode at the slightest touch, dispensing hundreds of seeds up to 7 metres in all directions. Therefore, to avoid making a Himalayan Balsam infestation worse, any control measures must minimise the spread of these seeds by removing mature plants.
Himalayan Balsam control can involve the use of chemicals although there are some non-chemical control measures that can also be used. For maximum effectiveness, the measures detailed further down this page should be carried out before June, which is the start of the flowering stage and before the seed pods are visible. April and May are regarded as the optimum time to treat Himalayan Balsam.
An effective Himalayan Balsam control measure for larger strands of the plant is to repeatedly cut or mow the plant. Himalayan Balsam should be cut below the lowest node otherwise is will just re-grow again.
Smaller infestation of Himalayan Balsam can be controlled by hand-pulling. Himalayan Balsam plants have very shallow roots, therefore, can be pulled straight from the ground. Although padded gloves are recommended at all times to avoid the risk of injury.
Whether you are a land manager dealing with a large Himalayan Balsam infestation or a property owner with a couple plants in the garden it is crucial not to allow the seeds to spread. Seed pods on Himalayan Balsam are usually visible from May onwards, therefore plan your treatment in April/Early May.
If you do notice seed pods then before you start pulling or cutting the Himalayan Balsam, simply place a plastic bag around the head of the plant and snap the head into the bag.
Using herbicides is an extremely effective method to control Himalayan balsam. The herbicide used depends largely on the local environment and the timescale required removing the weed. If the Himalayan Balsam is near a water-course the use of chemical control may be impossible.
Furthermore, using herbicides in or near canals, rivers or drainage channels within Scotland may require prior agreement from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA)
If you have a Himalayan Balsam problem and want to talk to the invasive weeds experts at Wise knotweed Solutions then call 0808 231 9218 or find your local branch.
Alternatively, you can contact the team using our contact form.
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