COMMUNITIES are being urged to rally together in a bid to stop the spread of an invasive plant.

Himalayan balsam smothers and destroys native plants such as purple loosestrife and meadowsweet, says Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The trust is encouraging those who live near streams and rivers to pull out and uproot any Himalayan balsam plants that are on owners’ land to help take action and help conserve river beds and native plants for future generations. DWT trainee conservation officer Ali Quinney said: “Himalayan balsam is causing havoc along many Dorset rivers, and is a contributing factor to the erosion of our river banks, as well as destroying habitats for creatures such as the water vole.

“When it flowers, its seeds literally explode, making stopping its spread a very challenging task.

“It has very shallow roots which make it extremely easy to remove; just hold it firmly at the base and gently pull, making sure all the roots are out of the ground, and then dispose by burning or composting them.”

Himalayan balsam is categorised as a ‘non-native invasive plant’ and anyone with it growing on their premises has a legal responsibility to prevent them spreading.

For more details about how you and your community can help the conservation of your local river, contact Ali Quinney at Dorset Wildlife Trust on or phone 01305 264620.