It's been another good year for the invasive species along the riverside. The only plant to experience any type of setback was the Giant Hogweed which suffered badly at the hands of the Council boys and their annual spray and then, of course, there was the more regular attention of Murd and his riverside patrol who dispatched many a large specimen with a slice of a spade through the stem before they could seed. A bumper year though for the Himalayan Balsam and the Japanese Knotweed again, plants which will surely dominate the entire riverside walks within a few years and it some sections their purpose has already been achieved. We have stated many times on the Gurn that the dominance of these invaders is at the expense of native plants and the complex relationship between the flora and fauna of the river and the riparian areas. Little or no spraying of Japanese Knotweed seems to have taken place on the riverside walks again this year apart from the efforts of the River Community Council down at the Merryton/Sewage bridge area.
The Gurn's Riverside correspondent Murd Dunbar was quick to notice that cattle in fields close to the riverside had tackled a considerable quantity of Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam.
The early morning sun filters through the remnants of some Himalayan Balsam
Japanese Knotweed battered by the bovine assault
A little googling reveals that cattle can be quite partial to Japanese Knotweed and although grazing will not eradicate the plant it will certainly give it a considerable setback especially if the cattle, sheep or goats are removed and then returned when the knotweed comes back up again.