VOLUNTEERS are heading out into the New Forest this summer to tackle an invasive plant threatening the forest’s native plant species.

Introduced to the UK in the 1800s, Himalayan balsam is quick growing and tolerates low light levels, meaning it can shade out and exclude native wildlife. It can spread quickly if not removed, as each plant can produce up to 800 seeds that can be shot up to seven metres by explosive seedpods.

Balsam pulls in the New Forest are organised by several organisations, including the New Forest National Park Authority and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Himalayan balsam has short roots and is easy to pull up.

For more information about the project visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/cwp.

For information on the balsam pulls email Catherine.Chatters@hiwwt.org.uk or call 07770 923315.