Control methods

Shallow roots -easy to pull out

Himalayan Balsam can be easily hand pulled as the species has very shallow roots growing to a depth of only 10-15 cm. This method is particularly useful for smaller infestations and in high ecological value areas where the use of herbicides, or indiscriminate cutting, should be avoided. While hand pulling is time consuming, the re-establishment of native vegetation should be facilitated by using this approach, as other species can be easily avoided.

A gentle tug is usually enough to remove the entire root system. Multiple plants can be pulled simultaneously. After pulling, the stem should be snapped or crushed. Gloves should be worn to avoid injury, including stings from nettles which are often found growing beside Himalayan Balsam. Hand pulling should ideally commence in May/June when plants can be easily found/identified and they will not have set seed. However, it can be carried out sooner (although identification can be tricky) and there will typically be more plants, as numbers reduce with time due to competition.

Repeat treatments will likely be required.

After mid August many plants will have started to produce viable seeds. Ideally seed heads should be carefully removed, put in a plastic bag and disposed of away from the site. However this is very slow and time consuming and only feasible for small infestations.

The stems of pulled plants should be crushed and put in a pile where they are unlikely to re-root. The plants can be allowed to dry out or composted as they reduce to small amounts.