Invasive plant threatening Lough Neagh wildlife haven

Himalyan Balsam
Himalyan Balsam

AN urgent call has been made for volunteers to tackle an alien super weed at a local wildlife haven.

Ulster Wildlife say they need volunteers to help eradicate Himalyan balsam, an invasive alien super weed, from 12 noon to 3pm this Saturday [July 6] at Moyola Waterfoot, on the shores of Lough Neagh.

Listed as one of the top-ten most wanted invasive species, Himalayan balsam has rapidly colonised this picturesque nature reserve - which forms part of an Area of Special Scientific Interest - and is on the verge of choking out native wildlife.

Willy McNamara, Nature Reserves Officer with Ulster Wildlife said eradiation was essential to protect the nature reserve’s biodiversity.

“Although attractive with its pretty purple flowers, Himalayan balsam is not native to Ireland and can quickly swamp large areas if left unchecked. It seeds profusely during the summer and the only way to restrict new growth next year is to remove it before it sets seed.

“But eradication means hand-pulling, which is hard work and requires lots of help to make an impact.”

Volunteers are advised to wear suitable clothing, sturdy footwear and bring a packed lunch.

Booking is essential for this event. Please contact 028 44 830208.