We've just had the first Himalayan balsam free year at Droitwich Community Woods in the 12 years I have been helping to look after it. It is possible to beat it!!!!
Twelve years ago there was Himalayan balsam along the banks of the River Salwarpe from where it comes into the reserve by Droitwich High School right through to where it leaves us south of the ring road and heads off toward Salwarpe.
It wasn't just at water level - due to the explosive nature of its seeds, it had colonised the banks, in places 1.5 m high, and encroached onto the flood plain. I am over 6’ tall but our tallest plant towered over me and had the ability to shed over a thousand seeds over a 12’ diam. area.
It's taken us volunteers 12 years to get to this clear point - doing battle in beds of brambles, 6’ high nettle beds, in the water and up the banks. We have always had a zero tolerance policy but those that know the plant know it is very adept at finding ways to beat you. We also have the problem of the wax coated seeds drifting down with the current. We get, and will always get, the result of there still being masses of Himalayan balsam at many upstream locations. But we are ever watchful and are determined to win!
Roger, Droitwich Community Woods