FAQ – Why can’t we just leave things as they are?

Himalayan balsam and other non-native species have one thing in common; they were introduced into the UK without the suite of natural enemies which keep the plant in check in the native range. This gives Himalayan balsam an unfair advantage over their native counterparts and enables them to become highly invasive species out-competing our native flora and degrading natural habitats. Just leaving things as they are will just enable Himalayan balsam to spread further and degrade additional areas. Integrating natural control methods with more traditional control methods should be the goal to best reduce the economic and ecological impacts of invasive weed species. In the early days of the release of the rust against Himalayan balsam, the rust will be establishing and spreading through the population. Therefore, there will still be a need to apply traditional control methods especially if Himalayan balsam is encroaching on sensitive habitats. Natural control should act to reduce the vigour and spread of Himalayan balsam over time, making it easier to control Himalayan balsam with conventional means.