Balsam Bashing Plan Notes

Safety and Insurance

Safety will be central to the whole project.  People will be supported in the work they do, Covid restrictions will be closely followed, people will be trained to work safely.  Suitable insurance will be in place for all activities.  People taking part will be made aware of all safety considerations and not be allowed to work as part of the project without having signed a document to say that they are fully informed about all Health and Safety etc regulations.

Killing Balsam

Balsam can quite easily be pulled up and the roots snapped off below the lowest node.  But balsam is a fighter and capable of rerooting, so should be put somewhere to dry out, preferably in a large pile.  When pulling up balsom it is hard to ensure that all the plants have been killed so the sites must be checked after about six weeks to kill any survivors.  Balsam is able to grow and produce seed until October so there will need to be a final killing program in October.  

To eliminate the Balsam completely we will need to monitor and remove Balsam until it stops reappearing.

Monitoring the Progress of the Project Using Maps

So that everybody in the project can be kept up to date with progress there will be a map, or maps showing all the crucial information about the project.  This map or maps will be available on the Trout in the Trym website.

The information that will be on the map will be defined in an early phase of the project initially.


People will be the most important resource.  The people involved in the existing groups will be invited to be trained in killing the balsam properly and take part in the eradication program.  It may be that more people will be needed during the peak balsam bashing times so that there may need to be a recruitment program.

Training bashers will be important.  People will have to be shown how to bash properly, what balsam looks like and a register of people who have been instructed in balsam bashing maintained.

Very little equipment will be needed to pull up the balsam.  However there are places where the balsam is not easily accessible and consideration will need to be given to how this will be managed safely.

Website the Trout in the Trym will be used to hold maps, plans and other materials.

Maps We will use google maps that can be shown on the website.  These will be updated regularly,

Social Media will be used to promote activities and interest in the Project.

Local Media will be used to promote activities and interest in the Project.

Email will be used to manage the communications of specific activities to volunteers, this may be supplemented by whatsapp groups, facebook, and any other communication mechanisms that groups use.


Some parts of the area have features that mean it would be wrong to bash the balsam at certain times.  One such is nesting birds.

Since the area covered by the project is large, plans should ensure that Balsam is bashed where there is as little risk to the wildlife we are seeking to encourage as possible.

If we are going to fail to eliminate all the flowering balsam plants we should kill those upstream ahead of those downstream.

Standard Project Things


  1. The whole clearing activity will need in the order of 2000 hours work.  P1 1200 hours, P2 500 hours P3 300 hours.  This figure will be refined during the project.
  2. All groups will have the resources to manage the areas they adopt.
  3. There is a core of people who want to make this happen and will drive the project to a successful resolution

Risks mitigation

  1. Covid stops work. No mitigation.
  2. Not enough volunteers. Recruit and publicise early, monitor progress to identify shortfall.  Build a can do attitude and a culture of recruiting and involving.
  3.  People get fed up.  Provide social activities and similar to develop a fun feel.
  4. We do not have the time to finish.  Complete upstream areas first.


  1. Existing wildlife.  Care has to be taken not to harm what we already have, there is a particular issue with nesting birds.
  2. Some people like the Balsam.
  3. Levels of involvement from different groups.  Some will be focused elsewhere, others will have very limited resources.
  4. Parts of the Trym River system that do not belong to any existent group.
  5. Access to some of the banks and river may be controlled by landowners that are not part of Trout in the Trym.


  1. Covid restrictions may mean that this summer may be the golden chance to tackle this problem as people may be reluctant or unable to go away on holiday.
  2. Diana Taylor has become involved in SusWoT activities and is an experienced video maker.  It may be possible to video the whole exercise.