Is the balsam showing yet?

warrenslaney

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Just thought I'd ask, with the blossom on the trees and the grass growing well, anyone seen any signs of Himalayan Balsam yet?

Thanks.
 

ant77

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Giant Hogweed so far, Warren. Not seen any balsam. Even by its pernicious standards I think its still far too early.

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MrP

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Would love HB to sprout now and then get a really severe frost. Might save a bit of work later in year.

P
 

ant77

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If that happens, MrP, everythings gonna be ****ed!

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warrenslaney

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Would love HB to sprout now and then get a really severe frost. Might save a bit of work later in year.

P
You don't seem to get any breaks with balsam though do you...

We are ready for it this year. Topping tractor fixed, strimmers ready, labour organised.
 

jada0406

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No Balsam seen yet on my weekly rounds, Warren, but nettles are sprouting new growth, and in our numerous 'exclusion zones', they are the second biggest curse -- unless, like one of my late aunts, you make nettle beer, nettle broth etc.;);) good luck with the balsam control; we need a heck of a lot of that up here in Cumbria. TerryC.
 

overthehill

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Re: Is the balsam showing yet

Out walking today by our local river here on the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire border and seedlings showing everywhere. There'll be acres of it again by the look of it.
 

bibio1st

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Nettle beer, that takes me back, my mum used to make it in the 60's, we used to get a shilling for each bucket full of fresh young nettles we collected, (we used to get a penny for each cabbage white butterfly we caught also but that's another story) I'll have to look up a recipe.

Steve
 

diawl bach

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First balsam seedling of the year, River Teifi, one of two, apparently frost proof

 

Theo

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I'm guessing the wretched stuff evolved some frost-proofing genes before it got over here from the Himalayas ;)

Slight on a tangent, and I know it's been asked before, but has anyone seen any updates on the progress of the rust fungus since its release in (I think) autumn 2014?

Theo
 

diawl bach

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You hadn't heard about Stainless Balsam, the rust free strain?

But actually no.
 

Tailing Loop

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I managed to clear about 400 yards last year to the point where the year before's efforts had proven worthwhile (Churnet valley - one of Mr Pointon's haunts!). My roguing and cutting had taken it's toll and last year we had about 600 yards of balsam free bank (not the opposite one though, where they won't lift a finger!) I used a Stihl brush cutter with metal blade, rather than a strimmer. It worked and smashed the balsam easily enough. However, I have been thinking, because i have the odd moment to myself. The next swage I have to tackle is at least 20 yards DEEP. I am not looking forward to it to be honest, about 1/2 mile of it.....funnily enough the bottom end of our stretch doesn't have any balsam and I don't know why, it must be something to do with soil or nutrients. Anyway, this mighty forest of Balsam is going to take some tackling. I have been thinking of going back in time and eschewing the power brush cutter in favour of an old fashioned scythe - I reckon i can swing a good scythe with more effect that a powered brush cutter - a 3ft blade will tke a hell of a bite out of a patch of balsam like that, over a 10" brsh cutter blade. It will do me good too, to go back to my youth when I used to have clear fields of nettles and thistles with a scythe. I reckon it wouldn't take long for me to get the rhythm back and I still have a shaped stone! Anyone know where to get a decent scythe nowadays....not a Pakistan made heap of junk!
 

Theo

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Old skool Grim Reaper scythe stylie... I like it! As long as you can get consistently below that vital first node on the stem?

Not completely unseriously, I was standing looking at a patch of several acres of the stuff on the banks of the Eden last year, and for no particular reason the idea of a flamethrower came into my head. Like the ones mounted on the front of tanks at the end of the Second World War ;)

Theo
 

diawl bach

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It's a lot of work.

I started strimming using a standard cord, moved on to a standard metal blade, and then on again to a mulching blade.

My problem was rocky ground, you don't see the stuff till you hit it and the recoil from rock on metal when using an industrial brush cutter is pretty wearing on the user and the machine, not to mention the blade.



My current approach which I'm happy with is the Oregon Jet-Fit head and their Flexiblade line, the head and line together cost £42 from Amazon and it's worth every penny, both for the system's ease of use and the power and durability of the line which cuts through brambles and bracken.
 

diawl bach

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Not completely unseriously, I was standing looking at a patch of several acres of the stuff on the banks of the Eden last year, and for no particular reason the idea of a flamethrower came into my head. Like the ones mounted on the front of tanks at the end of the Second World War
It does get to you, Agent Orange gradually becomes an attractive option.
 

Tailing Loop

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Old skool Grim Reaper scythe stylie... I like it! As long as you can get consistently below that vital first node on the stem?

Not completely unseriously, I was standing looking at a patch of several acres of the stuff on the banks of the Eden last year, and for no particular reason the idea of a flamethrower came into my head. Like the ones mounted on the front of tanks at the end of the Second World War ;)

Theo
Not such a daft idea. Dad had a parafin powered flame thrower for tackling big banks of weeds - he did set fire to the hedge a few times mind! That then needed cutting and laying and fencing off for a couple of years while it all regrew!

I like the idea of the wire blade daiwl. Do they do them for Stihl shafts?
 

MrP

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For large areas you are much better spraying the suff, Grazon Pro or anything with Trichlopyr.
Not within 6ms of river though!

Unless you need/want the exercise EVERY YEAR!!
 

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