What is Himalayan Balsam?

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant species that is threatening our rivers and countryside. It grows along the Ouse river banks, outcompeting native species and causing erosion.

Himalayan balsam can grow to more than three metres in height in a year and each plant can produce 800 seeds. These seeds are dispersed up to seven metres away from the parent plant, most frequently by humans and animals brushing past the ripe seedpods.

What is a Balsam Bash?

A ‘Balsam Bash’, involves pulling up the Himalayan balsam, to prevent it from setting seed and spreading further along the riverbank. Clearing a site like this reduces the amount that will grow in the same place in future years. Our Countryside team pull plants throughout June and always clean and disinfect their boots before going to different river sites to prevent the seeds dispersing far and wide.

When is it?

20th & 22nd June at 10:00-13:00

27th & 29th June at 10:00-13:00

  • Location to be arranged

11th & 13th July at 10:00-13:00

  • Location to be arranged

18th & 20th July at 10:00-13:00

  • Location to be arranged

25th & 27th July at 10:00-13:00

  • Location to be arranged

What will I need?

On a Balsam Bash you will need:

  • Long trousers
  • Long sleeves
  • Sturdy footwear
  • Gardening gloves

How do I volunteer?

If you would like more information or to volunteer please contact Jane Redfearn as follows:

How do I work safely?

Instructions and specific hazards will be pointed out on the day, but these are the safe working procedures:

  • Be careful of stinging nettles in with the balsam.
  • Some fencing may have barbed wire – be vigilant and take extra care.
  • Avoid bending down if possible.
  • Do no overreach to get the last few plants.
  • When working on the river bank be sure of the ground conditions and your footing.
  • Work closely with others – no lone working.
  • Have a mobile phone with you if possible.

The Risk Assessment for this activity is available here.