Pull out pesky plant if you see it along the River Bearbrook - trust asks for help to deal with balsam epidemic

The River Thame Conservation Trust are asking people to help them remove Himalayan balsam from along the River Bearbrook.

The Royal Horticultural Society describes the balsam as: "The pesky non-native plant, which is also known as the impatiens glandulifera, is a relative of the busy Lizzie, but reaches well over head height, and is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land, but can also invade gardens.

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

"It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes."

The River Thame Conservation Trust say that balsam can be effectively removed from streams with just a quick sharp pull - and the removal process has already begun.

Last year the trust and volunteers cleared large swathes of balsam along the streams of Aylesbury, freeing up space for native plants.

Several working parties are planned for the next month in an effort to keep on top of the problem.

Conservation Trust project officer Hannah Worker said: "At this pace Aylesbury should be free of balsam within a few short years, although helping hands are always needed to join the fray.

"Just one plant can produce 500 seeds, so we welcome all the help we can get at our work parties and as our eyes on the streams, spotting these plants before they can spread too far."

The trust say that stopping the spread of invasive plants, like balsam, is one of the many ways the community can help to protect and maintain brooks.

For more information on the balsam bashing work parties visit http://www.riverthame.org/get-involved/volunteering/balsam-bashing