Lionthorn residents asked to help battle Himalayan invasion

Himalayan Balsam is becoming a nuisance in Lionthorn
Himalayan Balsam is becoming a nuisance in Lionthorn

Concerned nature lovers hope residents will band together to battle the persistent infestation of Himalayan Balsam in the Lionthorn area of Falkirk.

Last year organisers David and Isabel Fairgrieve managed to clear a 10 metre by 10 metre area of ground along the Glen Burn themselves, removing 3000 plants. Now they want to step up the operation in 2019 with an uprooting session scheduled for Saturday, meeting up at the car park in Lionthorn Road from 11am.

Himalayan balsam, which can grow to well over head height, is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land, but can also invade gardens. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes.

Isabel said: “We planned a community effort to remove more last year, but there was very little response. We will do the same this year and hope for a better turnout.

“Our wildlife is in crisis and removing as much of this invasive plant as we can will allow our native species of flowers and shrubs to recover and provide sources of pollen and nectar as well as plants suitable for butterflies and other insects to lay their eggs on.

“This plant is very easy to uproot and if removed before it can seed the results are quite transforming for the affected areas. We would like to encourage all ages to get involved and make a difference for our own local wildlife. Help nature recover.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to make a difference.”

Gloves are advisable.