Case studies

Balsam management allows native species to thrive

Woodland in Harrogate
Himalayan Balsam
Balsam growing in woodland

Negatively impacting native species 

A conservation group in Harrogate aims to conserve, restore and enhance woodland in the Harrogate district. 

A 96-acre woodland was infested with Himalayan Balsam. It was out-competing native species and affecting biodiversity in the wood – so the conservation group contacted us to discuss options for its reduction or removal.

Balsam cleared and much more manageable

Protecting the woodland 

As this was a woodland area, and the idea behind the reduction or removal of the Himalayan Balsam was to protect and improve the area for the native species, herbicide wasn’t a great option. Spraying an enormous amount of herbicide would not only kill the Himalayan Balsam, but it would also kill a large amount of the native species around it and potentially impact the trees, too.

Our team decided the best route to protect the woodland was to implement a large-scale cutting programme, cutting the Himalayan Balsam before the seed heads form to be able to remove the plants and deplete the number of seeds to grow future plants.

Balsam clearing underway

Space for native species to thrive  

After just 12 months of the plan, we saw significant improvements in the reduction of the Himalayan Balsam infestations. Already, native species were able to re-grow in these previously infested areas.

Four years on, the cutting plan programme has resulted in only very small pockets of the Himalayan Balsam remaining, which can now be easily managed to protect the native species and support the future of the woodland.

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