Controlling Alien Invaders

Tweed ForumTweed Forum have been leading the control of invasive non-native plant species within the Tweed catchment for over 10 years.

The main target species for our control effort has been Giant Hogweed a particularly nasty invasive weed common in the UK but originally from North America. This plant has ‘phyto-reactive’ (activated by sunlight on the affected area) sap that can cause blistering to those unfortunate enough to come in contact with it. Giant Hogweed, once ubiquitous on some banks of the Tweed, is now largely absent; thanks to the continued efforts of Tweed Forum, landowners and ghillies and members of the public. One of the greatest challenges set by Giant Hogweed is the fecundity, with each plant head capable of producing over 10,000 seeds!

Tweed ForumThe infamous Japanese Knotweed poses a different set of challenges.  This plant, although sterile in the UK, can spread by ‘vegetative propagation’ from any part of the stem or rhizome.  A single stand can quickly become a serious problem if someone starts strimming in the wrong place!  Japanese Knotweed is particularly hard to kill, with control work being most effective towards the end of the growing season when the plant is dying back.  Because this plant is so virulent, it is advised that any control work is done by experienced people, such as those at Tweed Forum.

If you have seen either of these 2 plants please do let us know by contacting us at or calling 01896 849723

The final plant in our big three is the Himalayan Balsam a riparian plant that will recognisable to most anglers and river users. The ‘explosive’ seed heads are triggered by nearby movement and can catapult the small seeds several feet or even a number of metres from the parent plant; lodging themselves in clothing or the fleece of animals. Due to budgetary restrictions, Tweed Forum is currently only attempting to control their abundance within the Till catchment and the Tweed upstream of the confluence with the Ettrick.

The key to preventing re-colonisation of these areas is good biosecurity from those who are enjoying the river. This can be as simple as brushing one’s clothes down before leaving the river and washing boots clean of mud. We would advise all anglers to take these simple precautions in order to preserve the river for everyone

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