Wansteadium reader Robert Pickles is wound up about the spread of the pictured weed, pennywort, in the Perch Pond in Wanstead Park. He first spotted it growing at the water’s edge three years ago, he says, when he contacted the Park authorities about it. “The weed is now so bad that unless they do something soon, it will completely take over the waterway,” he says. “Had they acted years ago it would never have reached this point. Pennywort is an extremely invasive weed and will eventually choke this and connecting waterways. As a result, fish and other marine life die and birds leave. It is very hard to get rid of once it has a hold.”
The head of operations for Epping Forest writes:
Could I please respond to Mr Robert Pickles concerns over Floating Pennywort on the Perch Pond at Wanstead Park.
Manual removal of Floating Pennywort has been undertaken each year for at least the last three years by local volunteers. Sadly, despite the considerable efforts of the volunteers, this has proved insufficient to control the Floating Pennywort and we have to consider other approaches.
A particular problem at Perch Pond is how the Floating Pennywort grows thickly amidst the marginal scrub vegetation, where it is difficult to remove manually or to control with herbicide. As a precursor to contractor led control works in 2016 we will be undertaking a winter programme to open up the pond edges around the Perch Pond. The removal of scrub on the lake edge will allow Floating Pennywort control work to get right into the edge of the lake where it is often rooted. For a number of reasons it is not desirable to remove scrub on all the pond margins but where it is appropriate its clearance will substantially help in the control of Floating Pennywort.
In 2016 specialist contractors will be engaged to manually remove the pennywort and then to undertake targeted herbicide applications on it. This work will be supplemented by volunteers. It is expected that we will need to continue such operations for a number of years.
Head of Operations
, Epping Forest