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Pull, Snap, Stomp, 2019

The Inland Waterways Association has launched this year's 'Pull Snap Stomp' Campaign, which aims to bring out families during June and July to slow the spread of Himalayan Balsam.

The invasive plant grows so fast that it suffocates native wildflowers. But has no root stock, so when it dies back in the autumn it leaves the ground naked and susceptible to erosion.

IWA branded it ‘Pull Snap Stomp’ because you PULL up the stems, SNAP off the root and STOMP it down on a pile.

It needs to be done when the stems are big and easy enough to pull out, and they leave the ground with a satisfying ‘pop’. It must be done before the flowers turn to seeds in late summer, or you'll simply spread the seeds.

For all its nuisance it is otherwise remarkably benign and beautiful. The flowers can be foraged for flavouring gins or jellies. Ideally, harvest them on a dry, hot day and use them quickly. Put the petals in a muslin bag and pour boiling water over them to extract a subtle floral bouquet.

To see where Balsam Bashes are happening go to waterways.org.uk/himalayanbalsam, or follow the hashtag #PullSnapStomp on social media.

 
Himalayan Balsam flowers. Once they turn to seeds, pulling them out only serves to spread the seeds. Photo: Erica Martin.

 
Pull Snap Stomp is a fun family game. Photo: Alison Smedley.

 

 
Himalayan balsam infographic – all you need to know. (IWA) 

Tuesday 21 May  | Andrew Denny  | 4.14pm, Tuesday 21 May 2019

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