Yes we are asking the public for their help to let no plant go to seed! We are now into our fourth year of this project and we have made dramatic reductions in the extent of Himalayan balsam infestations along the River Allow and Dalua. With the assistance of participants on the Rural Social Scheme, IRD Duhallow staff and volunteers and the local Kanturk Trout Angling Club, the plant has been dramatically reduced in numbers and distribution. In total we have treated over 24km of linear river bank and drain.
We are now mopping up plants that have slipped through and it gets harder to spot individual plants now that the big stands have been removed. We are therefore appealing to the public in the Kanturk and Newmarket areas to keep an eye out for these stragglers and to remove these plants if spotted. It is important that the few remaining stragglers are prevented from gowing to seed. This is really important as each plant that is missed by the eradication programme is capable of producing up to 2,500 seeds.
We aim to keep a sustained effort this year to try and really reduce numbers to as close to zero as possible so that the afterLIFE maintenance of this part of the project can be managed on reduced resources. So its all hands on deck and your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
If you come across a plant, simply tear off the roots and pull off the flowering head. If there are seed pods on the plant, place a small plastic bag over them (a sandwich bag is ideal for the seed heads of smaller plants (although a larger bag like a bin liner would be required for the bigger plants), and break off the seed heads. Remember these pods are spring loaded and will eject their seed contents if touched. The bags can be dropped into the James O’Keeffe Institute in Newmarket to the LIFE team for disposal or else dispose of them by squashing the seed pods with a hammer or other flat headed instrument. It is important that the seeds are not allowed to infect another area outside of the source area. Also please remember that rivers can be dangerous places so it is better to do any searches in the company of others and let people know of your plans. H balsam is not a noxious plant but we recommend for people to wear gloves whilst removing it.
IRD Duhallow will organise balsam removal days over the coming week. So if you are interested in getting involved, please ring IRD Duhallow 02960633 and leave your contact details with the LIFE project.
This project is part funded through the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community.