Monday, 28 October 2013

Touch Me Not Balsam Site near Ferry Nab.

This image, taken in October 2013, is of a clearing, choked with brambles, in a small wooded area on National Trust ground next to Ferry Nab.

It is an important site for the "Nationally Scarce" Touch me not Balsam plant; the rare Netted Carpet Moth depends upon it for survival, as it is the only food source for the moth larvae.

Both the plant and the moth are to be found predominantly in the Lake District, but are restricted to just a few sites.

Touch Me Not Balsam is an annual plant; it is intolerant of competition from other plants. This bramble patch has been encroaching more and more on the Touch-Me-Not stand so it is being cut back and pulled out .

Dealing with the brambles will also cause lots of  ground disturbance.

Touch Me Not Balsam tends to grow very much better in disturbed ground.

With the brambles pulled out or slashed back, many more Touch Me Not Plants should appear next Spring. In favourable conditions they form dense stands such as the one in the image below.

Greater numbers of plants, on which the moths' caterpillars feed, should help maintain or even increase the annual moth populations.

A good stand of Touch Me Not Balsam in July.

Slashing back the brambles.
Pulling out the brambles by the roots.
The site, now almost clear of the brambles.

Netted Carpet Moth. Mid July.

This post will be updated next Summer with a, hopefully good, progress report.
An excellent result. This is an image of the site as of the 5th of July. 2014

This is now a really impressive stand of Touch Me Not Balsam.

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