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August 2019
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Stem Injection Systems

A Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) project to tackle invasive non-native plant species (INNS) in the Dumfries and Galloway area, is using state-of-the-art treatment equipment from Stem Injection Systems (Europe).

The project officers using the equipment are working for Nith District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) and Annan DSFB on a Japanese Knotweed control programme on the River Nith and River Annan catchment areas. These are two of several organisations involved in the five year project which has been part funded through SEPA’s Restoration Fund.

The INNS project will focus on eliminating Japanese Knotweed as well as Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed, all of which are growing in increasing numbers along the river corridors and having a serious impact on the biodiversity of the riparian environment and consequently on the aquatic environment.

SEPA South West operations manager Robert Kerr said: -The issue of invasive species is a national one, threatening biodiversity across the UK. Their ability to colonise many areas has resulted in damage to our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.”

Jim Henderson is Director of Nith DSFB which is responsible for preserving, protecting and enhancing stocks of migratory salmonids within the Nith catchment. -This increasing problem with invasive plants has to be tackled in a concerted way, starting at the top of the river corridor and extending catchment-wide to try and eliminate the spread of seeds,” he said.

-Having examined various treatment techniques, it’s my belief that spraying only suppresses plant growth until the following growing season, whereas the stem injection system appears to deliver a complete kill.”

This project is part of SEPA’s Dumfries and Galloway Catchment Management Initiative and is managed by a steering group bringing together key local organisations to help tackle the problem.

The equipment, which injects a given dose of glyphosate herbicide directly into the plant stem, is increasingly recognised as achieving maximum control and specific to the plant species with no impact on the surrounding vegetation and wildlife, critical in this riverside application.

Jim Henderson concluded: -Although we’re learning all the time about how best to control invasive non-native species, this SEPA project feels as if we’re at the forefront of some very pioneering environmental work. I believe that this type of stem injection treatment will be seen as the blueprint for successful river basin weed management for years to come.”

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