The Perth & Kinross Ranger Service Conservation Volunteers removed a huge amount of Himalayan Balsam from Loon Braes in Rattray yesterday. This plant isn’t native to Scotland and grows really quickly, thus preventing our native plants from flourishing.
Keeping on top of the Himalayan Balsam is a never-ending job, but we can get there together!
If you’d like to lend a hand at Loon Braes or anywhere across Perth & Kinross then please get in touch! Join here
There has been a hub of activity at Loon Braes in Rattray over the past few weeks. As well as our usual monthly ‘Loon Braes Task Force’ meetings, we have been lucky to have the support of The Conservation Volunteers and Strathmore Centre for Youth Development (SCYD) to help us keep the park looking beautiful for both wildlife and people.
Over the past few weeks we have worked with various volunteers to plant new trees in the wildlife hedge and to weed around the hedge to make way for some wildflower plugs, which will be planted next week. We have also made a hibernaculum, which is a safe place for amphibians and reptiles to hibernate over winter time. And today we removed lots of Rosebay willowherb from the fruit trees and night-scented flowers that we planted to help the park’s bats by attracting moths (moths are a tasty bat-snack).
If you would like to help out then please do join us! The Loon Braes Task Force meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 1.30pm to 3.30pm at the Pavilion. We will provide tools, gloves and any training needed. Thursday is our day with The Conservation Volunteers, meeting at the Pavilion at 10.30 am, finishing about 3pm (though you only need stay as long as you like). Again, tools and gloves are provided, along with tea, coffee and biscuits. Please wear old clothes and sturdy shoes and bring waterproofs. If staying for the day, please bring a packed lunch. Have fun, get fit, meet some like-minded people and help your local wildlife and greenspaces!
Today we have a guest post from a local conservation volunteer group based in the Dunkeld & Birnam area:
This is the third year we have been involved in removing H. Balsam in the Birnam/Dunkeld area. With the cooperation of landowners, our operations have been centred on the Birnam Oak woodland but have involved outcrops 800m or more upstream and downstream.
Our group is currently seven strong, but we would like to see more people involved more regularly and extend our operation to take in areas further up the Tay valley. Pulling balsam in the Birnam Dunkeld area is underway again and there is no doubt that it is starting to have an effect.
Heavy balsam growth around the Birnam Oak
Slashing thick growth at mouth of the River Braan
The alien plant population is certainly on the decrease, but there is much more to be done. Hopefully we will extend operations as far as the Dalguise and Balinluig areas this year, and there is hope that our Sustrans connection will see people pulling balsam in the Perth area as well. Some of us are out every day so there is every chance that we can fit in with your own availability.