Himalayan Balsam

What is Himalayan Balsam?

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a fast growing annual plant that reaches heights of 1-2m and produces purplishpink flowers from July to October. In winter the plant dies back completely but will regrow the following season. 

Common, to, wet habitats such as riverbanks and ditches, Himalayan Balsam spreads at the expense of other native plants and will gradually destroy biodiversity in an area. Himalayan Balsam is a troublesome weed that can cause erosion of riverbanks and localised flooding.

How does Himalayan Balsam spread?

Each plant produces a seedpod containing up to 800 viable seeds. When the seedpod is ripe it explodes scattering new seeds up to 23 feet in all directions. A single plant will very quickly spread into a whole region if not controlled. 

Plants established close to a river can spread even further as seeds are swept downstream.

Himalayan Balsam Legislation

If you have Himalayan Balsam on your land you have a legal responsibility to prevent it from spreading onto other neighbouring land, failure could result in fines up to £2,500. It is essential to act quickly when Himalayan Balsam is identified to ensure that an effective management plan is implemented to mitigate such legal risks.

Himalayan Balsam Treatment

Manual Control
Himalayan Balsam can be removed manually by pulling out the plant or by cutting it down before the seedpods form.  This process would be repeated for 2-3 years to exhaust the seed bank in the soil. An immediate method of removal is to excavate the plant and affected soils although costs would be higher for this. Disposal of any uprooted plants requires a special license and should be undertaken by a professional company.

Herbicide Control

Herbicide control involves the application of specialised weed-killing chemicals to Himalayan Balsam plants. The process can take several years and permission must be obtained from the environmental agency for use near water.

Invasive Species

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