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NBC Branch Battles Plant Invasion

NBC Branch Battles Plant Invasion

Volunteers removing invasive plants

Our mangers’ and technicians’ natural interest in wildlife means we are always looking for ways we can help with conservation or charity work. When Mark Hudson, area manager for NBC Chester Bird & Pest Control branch heard about Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s plan to remove a non-native plant from river tributaries to allow native plant life to thrive, he knew he had to volunteer his time and team to get involved.

Only a small percentage of non-native plants present a problem, but when the do become established in the wild they dramatic long-term consequences for native biodiversity. In their guidelines to managing these non-native plants, Paul Leinster, Chief Executive for the Environment Agency said “Invasive non-native species can harm the environment in different ways. Whilst Himalayan balsam and water primrose are colourful and attractive, they often become so prolific that they displace native plants. Dense mats of floating pennywort or parrot’s feather can choke watercourses leading to increased flood risk, reduced angling opportunities and problems for navigation.”

Mark and other members of the NBC Chester branch staff spent a day in Bunbury, Cheshire clearing Himalayan Balsam from a tributary feeding into the River Gowy to prevent river bank erosion leading to flooding and also allowing native species to begin flourishing.

For more information on our conservation work please contact us. For help and advice on any weed control, bird, pest or wildlife issues contact the experts on or find your local branch.

Invasive Non-Native Plants

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant that out performs and suppresses the growth of native plant species. When it dies off it leaves behind bare ground that can be eroded away by river water and rain which can cause flooding problems. The bare ground also means there is no food for insects, which can lead to a knock-on effect further up the food chain.

Creeping Water-Primrose is troublesome aquatic weed which invades water ecosystems and can clog waterways. The stem can creep over 2 meters long, often branching. It spreads to form mats on the mud, or floats ascending in the water.

Japanese Knotweed is a large, herbaceous plant, native to eastern Asia in Japan, China and Korea. It forms thick, dense colonies that completely crowd out any other herbaceous species and has been listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. The invasive root system and strong growth can damage foundations, buildings, flood defences, roads, paving, retaining walls and architectural sites. It can also reduce the capacity of channels in flood defences to carry water.

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