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Himalayan Balsam vs. Reeds

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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 16:58   #1
Carless
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Himalayan Balsam vs. Reeds

Hi all.

Near me there is a stand of reeds, which is being colonised by Himalayan Balsam. Currently the balsam is starting to grow. Last year's dead reeds are still standing but I can see no sign of the reeds sprouting.

What is the best method of removing the balsam so that the reeds will grow and the stand of reeds will be saved. When I've seen reeds with that much balsam growing up in them before, the reed stand has not survived even if the balsam is removed.

Is there any particular method, timing, or other strategy that will maximise the probability that the reeds will be preserved? My current plan is to remove the balsam ASAP by careful weeding, chopping them off at the base of the stem to not disturb the soil, in the hope that the reeds will then grow undisturbed, but given that I've seen reed stands not recover before, wish to see if there's anything better that I can do.

EDIT: There is one reed bed/stand that appears to have been saved by balsam removal, but in this case the balsam had only spread into part of the reeds. Even now years later the reeds haven't recolonised the area where the balsam grew; it's only the completely unaffected regions that have survived. In the reed bed/stand I'm looking at now, balsam is growing up through the entire thing.

Last edited by Carless : Monday 27th May 2019 at 17:01.
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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 17:02   #2
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https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...4JpV6sFwRWwcHU

By hand and hard work is recommended - chemicals as a last resort assuming it is on your property. Good luck.

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Old Monday 27th May 2019, 19:53   #3
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Make sure it is flooded, at least in winter and spring - Reeds can grow in water up to half a metre deep or so, Himalayan Balsam needs exposed soil.
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 06:22   #4
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Thanks. I've done a lot of balsam removal in the past (and present). This issue here is one particular stand/bed of rushes.

it's in an area which does flood, but is dry now. I have no control over how much water floods the are and when.

I can't use herbicides as it's on public land, not my private property. So, it will be hard work, but how and when?
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 07:27   #5
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Any time between now and when the first seed pods start popping. My worry would be that the amount of trampling to get to all of the Balsam plants might cause more damage than the plants would do if left.
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Old Tuesday 28th May 2019, 08:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
Any time between now and when the first seed pods start popping. My worry would be that the amount of trampling to get to all of the Balsam plants might cause more damage than the plants would do if left.
Trampling can cause damage. But, it is also my experience that the balsam, if left, will push the reed/rushes out anyhow. I've made that mistake before of leaving balsam in a reed/rush bed and next year there's just balsam and nothing else. So, I'm not convinced that just leaving the balsam is the best option.

That's why I was wondering if clearing early before the reeds/rushes (I think they are bullrushes) start sprouting might be best.
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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 07:41   #7
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One of the problems with Himalayan Balsam in my experience is germination of dormant seeds after a pulling session. You may need to go back repeatedly, fortnightly with heavy infestations and do more pulling until no recurrence. Don't despair if some more comes up the following year, but you have to remove every plant. It can be done
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