After setting up my own blog for my Keep Wales Tidy work in Cardiff, I decided to set up one for the the work we do as volunteers on Henllys LNR.
The major work last year was the first serious tackle of himalayn balsam. In 2009, I tested a trial plot of pulling up the balsam, which took me 4 hours. In 2010, this only took me 30 mins. In 2010, several volunteers joint together, or as individuals helped to pull up large areas of balsam.
The results of this are quite interesting. The areas in which we pulled regularly had very little regrowth this year, but the sites where balsam had been chemically sprayed or strimmed, had plenty of regrowth. There are loads of factors which could have affected this, but arguably we can control the spready of balsam if people just pull up a bit when they are walking their dogs, or stopping for a chat. You can't really confuse it with anything else on the LNR, but the following steps are important:
1. Pull the plant out completely, if the stem snaps it regrows with more flower heads than before and it can make things worse.
2. bend over the stems and twist them to damage the fibres. This helps to stop the plant from re-rooting.
3. Place the pulled balsam in large piles. This helps the rest of the ground to recover and decreases the area of nutrient enrichment.
Here's a slideshow of some shots I took today (pressing the speech box icon in the bottom left corner of the slideshow gives small comments on each photo):