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Help remove pesky plants from Aylesbury's Bear Brook

Help remove pesky plants from Aylesbury's Bear Brook

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 7:45am 12th May 2019.

Today (12th May) you could help clear Aylesbury's Bear Brook of 'alien invaders'.

No, not the big eyed spaceship flying kind, but non-native invasive plants.

The pesky non-native plant, himalayan balsam, has established itself along the Bear Brook, Aylesbury, and some of its tributaries.

What is it?

Help clear bear brook of pesky plant
Himalayan Balsam
  • This plant bullies its way into habitat, over shading and outcompeting native flora.
  • It's an explosive disperser, using coiled spring like seedpods to jettison its seeds over seven metres into the nearest watercourse where they are carried downstream to set up new residences.
  • Within a relatively short time it can take over whole riverbanks, forming dense stands of nothing but balsam.

All is not lost as himalayan balsam can be effectively removed from streams with just a quick sharp pull and this removal has already begun.

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

This year the battle of the brook continues with several work parties planned for May, starting today (12th May).

Help clear the Bear Brook of pesky plants
Volunteers in action at the Bear Brook

Project officer Hannah Worker told us:

"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 brooks of Aylesbury are a fantastic local amenity with wildlife living right on people's doorsteps.

Stopping the spread of invasive plants, like balsam, is one of the many ways the local community can help to protect and maintain their babbling brooks.

The details of the event today:

Please bring wellies, a water bottle, lunch and maybe a sun hat. All other equipment, including gloves, will be supplied.

Location: Stoke Brook, Aylesbury

Time: 10:00-15:00

There is more information on the balsam bashing work parties here.

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