Hexham Rotary help the Environment

plantHexham Rotary – keeping to social distancing – helped the Tyne Rivers Trust tackle the Himalayan Balsam problem near Watersmeet at Walden on the Tyne.
Himalayan Balsam is an imported weed that has colonised much of the river bank in this SSI area. If it is left unchecked it will stifle the natural vegetation. It is an annual shallow rooted plant that sheds a proliferation of seeds in the autumn and, because it is workingeasily uprooted by floods, contributes to bank erosion. Hexham Rotary was first involved last year when two teams from the club cleared a large area. It was gratifying to see the effect of this now as the amount of the weed was considerably reduced and it was now mainly found in hard to reach places. This does show it is possible to eradicate this nuisance.

RobsonJoining with other volunteers from the Tyne Rivers Trust on a very hot July day, we now cleared many more square metres of the plant making several areas of the banks of the Tyne and South Tyne free of the invader. In some place the balsam was hard to pairreach as it was growing through a dense layer of undergrowth with the plants taller that the clearers.
We were just in time as in a week or so the plants would have shed hundreds of seeds. The uprooted plants were left in piles to rot down. Jenny Elliott of the Tyne Rivers Trust was delighted with the result.

Eight members of the club took part, including our President, Miles Middleton, and we hope to continue the co-operation with the Tyne Rivers Trust and to pass the message that more help is needed to the other Rotary Clubs in the area.