Invasive Non-native Species Week

Many plants in the UK are non-native and most are harmless. But some that have escaped into the wild have become rampant and harming our biodiversity. In Clyne Valley, our chief culprits are Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Leycesteria formosa, which are very dominant in some areas. Shockingly, the latter is still sold in garden centres as it is a very attractive plant and the potential harm has not yet been legally recognised. You may know it as shrimp plant or pheasant berry. It is through similar routes that the knotweed and balsam entered our country many years ago – the Victorians were avid plant collectors, and a few species are causing major problems now.


LEAVE THE KNOTWEED ALONE – herbicides will be applied later this year, just before it goes dormant for the greatest effect. It will take a few years to kill off, but we have started the process. Please do not pull, cut or trample the plant.

PULL THE BALSAM – we cannot tackle the whole valley, some areas are too infested. But we can reduce the spread. If you spot an area with not too many plants, please try pulling them out. Ensure you get the roots, which are quite shallow – do this by pulling firmly from the base of the stalk. It can be quite a pleasant task to tackle a small area at dusk, and enjoy the bird song. Maybe choose an area you visit regularly and do a bit now and then. Leave them to dry or pile them up, and please check back from time to time in case they regrow.

DON’T CHUCK YOUR GARDEN WASTE IN THE VALLEY – open space is not for individual’s compost and this can be a route for plants to spread. If your garden is alongside the valley, please check if any of your plants have escaped and are spreading, and please pull them out. This may include variegated archangel, montbretia and Spanish bluebells. Thank you. Also, grass clippings are unwelcome, they change the nutrient balance in the soil and do not decompose well – please use the council service, and encourage neighbours to do the same if necessary.

CLEAN YOUR BOOTS, BIKES AND DOGS – biosecurity is something we need to become aware of. Please help avoid the spread of seeds or disease from one area to another. THANKS FOR READING.

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