Eradicating Invasive Species

Invasive species such as Giant Hogweed, Japanese Knotweed, and Himalayan Balsam growing in various locations throughout the entire Mersey Basin region.These three non-native species of plants degrade the quality of our waterways by our competing our natural species of plants.

In summer, they create dense stands of foliage, blocking light and killing off other plants. In winter when they die back, they leave large areas of exposed, vegetation free river bank, which is susceptible to erosion – which in turn leads to the siltation of river gravel beds.

Giant Hogweed - Don't touch it - the sap can burn your skin!

Giant Hogweed – Don’t touch it – the sap can burn your skin!

Giant Hogweed is a particularly important plant to eradicate in our river systems, as the sap of the plant can cause severe burning if it gets in contact with your skin.

Commencing in summer 2015 the Mersey Basin Rivers Trust will be commencing a program of mapping invasive plant species and eradication of Giant Hogweed in the Mersey Basin region. The plant is most prevalent in the Irwell and Lower Mersey region – and we intend to kick start a volunteer program of top to toe eradication. However – whilst it is important to tackle these known areas – we think its more important to stop this species taking a hold in other river systems in the area.

Giant Hogweed plants have been reported on the Rivers Goyt, Tame and Dane – but still in low numbers. Our trained volunteers will be conducting river walkovers to locate the highest point in each river system that Hogweed grows and working downstream from that point spraying and stem injecting these plants.
Hopefully we can regain control of the problem before it becomes a mammoth task – as it will be on the River Irwell.

There are three things you can do to help us:

  1. If you see this plant growing anywhere – please get in touch and let us know where you have seen it growing (a grid reference would be most useful)
  2. Volunteer to take part in our “River Walkover Survey Program
  3. Volunteer to undertake join our Invasives Control Team – full training and equipment are provided. You will helping create massive ecological gains in our area

Please click on the photo below for a detailed description of Giant Hogweed, its life cycle, how its treated, and the potential harm it can cause.

Hogweed PDF cover