Giving the Himalayan Balsam the heave-ho!

7 GoodGymers made their way 7.8km to help the Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve and Friends of Berrylands Nature Reserve in Kingston upon Thames.

  • Kingston upon Thames runner
  • Dave White
  • Jassy Drakulic
  • Rachel White
  • Sevan
  • Claire Dunne
  • Samantha Gardiner
Tuesday, 26th of July 2022
Led by Rachel White

Our Tuesday group run took us back to Berrylands Nature Reserve to help Andrew and his volunteers tackle the Himalyan Balsam. A steady pace got us there with lots of chat and we were immediately put to task once we arrived. Andrew explained that the Himalyan Balsam is an invasive weed as it grows up to 8 foot but the root system is shallow so it causes soil erosion. We couldn't quite believe the spindly looking plant could get so big as it's stem is so hollow - it even gives a reassuring snap sound when it's broken.

We split up into small groups so we could tackle different areas going round the brambles and nettles (shorts were not such a great idea, Dave!) Jassy and our newest member, Samantha, (welcome to the group!) veered round the back whilst Caroline, Dave and Sevan tackled the bit by the path. It didn't take long to create huge piles of broken stems - there was a lot to do. The hour soon passed but ten minutes before packing up, Sevan came to show us the huge plants he had found! Triffid-sized. We rushed over to take a better look and the Himalyan Balsam was towering over us like bamboo shoots. It was very satisfying to pull the thick stems out and the only shame was that we ran out of time to do that whole area. At least we made a good impact and hopefully we've prevented the plant from destroying some native flora in the area.

Congratulations to Jassy who achieved 50 tasks on this task - amazing, well done! And a big hello and welcome to Samantha who joined us on her first task - hope to see you again soon.

Report written by Rachel White

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Wednesday July 27th, 2022 00:16

Wow! I've never seen balsam so tall! 😮

Rachel White
Rachel White
Wednesday July 27th, 2022 00:17

Me neither! There were loads of it too. So satisfying to pull out the ground

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Rachel White
Led by Rachel White

I am the area activator for Kingston Upon Thames. Keen to keep moving and improving.

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