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Sports, leisure and the Arts Weeds

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan balsam flower

Himalayan balsam grows and spreads quickly on river banks, waste ground and damp woodlands. The plants grow densely and stop the growth of other plants and grasses. How to identify:

  • it grows up to 2-3m in height;
  • it has red-tinged stems and green leaves;
  • purplish pink flowers from June to October.

What you should know

  • cut or pulled plants can be safely left on site to decompose, this must be done in a dry open area, this must be carried out before seed pods mature and explode;
  • it will take a couple of seasons to get the weed under control;
  • balsam bashing work parties can be organised to clear the weed from woodland and riverbanks;
  • you can't dispose of Himalayan balsam in your green bin (garden waste) or take it to the tip (household recycling centre) it must be disposed of as controlled waste; 
  • refer to the Environment Agency for further information.

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