Let’s pull together to combat weed threat, says CLA

07 August 2013

Farmers, landowners and walkers in the North East are being urged to pull together to combat the threat from an invasive weed.

Pirri pirri bur is an invasive, non-indigenous weed thought to have been introduced to Northumberland through the wool industry on the River Tweed. It has already colonised large areas of dunes on Holy Island - part of Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve - to the detriment of native plants.

Now, in a bid to halt its spread further afield, the CLA in the North is calling on all farmers and landowners in the region to check their land for the weed and remove it before it gets chance to take hold. 

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: "Pirri pirri bur is a particular problem on the Northumberland coast around Holy Island but it is spreading rapidly as the plant produces seeds with spiny burs that get stuck in shoes, clothing and dog hair.

"If landowners spot the weed on their land they should notify Berwick Wildlife Group and remove it as soon as possible as it becomes very difficult to control. Digging it with garden forks and then burning it is a good way of removing the plant at this stage."

Iain Robson from the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership said that walkers can play a part in halting its spread too: "Members of the public can help prevent the further spread of pirri pirri bur by keeping to paths through the Holy Island dunes between June and November. Visitors should also check their shoes, clothing and dogs for seeds, removing them and putting them into a bin."

Examples of pirri pirri bur can be viewed online here. Anyone who finds a patch locally should send details (including a grid reference if possible) to Berwick Wildlife Group at: mail3@berwickwildlifegroup.org.uk