A concerted effort is being made to tackle the spread of a garden plant to protect the native species of a North East beauty spot.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership is seeking help to tackle invasive plants that have escaped from gardens and threaten the valuable native flora of Upper Teesdale.

A significant site of invasive garden lady’s mantle (alchemilla mollis) has been found in an area around an Upper Teesdale beck - and the AONB Partnership is working with partners and volunteers to remove it.

Volunteers are invited to join the team on August 17, 24 and 25 for a practical day to help dig up and remove the invasive plants.

In July the team removed 60 metres of material from a site, working with volunteer members of the public and conservation partners.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Drygill sike before, left, and after, right, Alchemilla mollis removal JulyDrygill sike before, left, and after, right, Alchemilla mollis removal July (Image: NORTH PENNINES AONB PARTNERSHIP)

This area of Upper Teesdale in the North Pennines AONB is especially important for the population of rare native plants that are found there.

If the garden lady’s-mantle is left to set seed, it poses a risk of spreading to further sites and possibly out-competing and replacing the important native plant communities. It forms very dense clumps and will shade out the slower-growing, less competitive plants.

Among the team hoping to tackle the spread of this aggressive plant is Will Bowman, farming and nature trainee working on the Tees-Swale Naturally Connected programme with the AONB Partnership.

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He said: “The work to remove alchemilla mollis is especially important for the preservation of special habitats in the Upper Teesdale area.

"As beautiful as garden lady’s mantle might be for a garden border or bouquet of flowers, it does pose a serious risk to the structure of native habitats.

"If left, it quickly spreads via seed and establishes large numbers of plants that rapidly out-compete native plants. In several locations in Upper Teesdale it has spread the entire length of a beck in only a few years.

"We are hoping that with a combined effort from the North Pennines AONB team, Teesdale Special Flora group, Natural England, Moor House – Upper Teesdale Nature Reserve and individuals who are willing to volunteer their time, we will be able to considerably reduce the spread of Alchemilla mollis in Upper Teesdale.”

The AONB Partnership is also advising people with Alchemilla mollis in the garden to be vigilant of plants self-seeding and establishing themselves outside of their garden borders.

Where this has happened, plants should be removed by the roots. Flower heads can also be dead-headed before they are able to set seed, and disposed of in a way that does not pose a further risk of seed spreading.

Dr Margaret Bradshaw’s Special Flora Trust is calling for people to report any sightings of Alchemilla mollis in the wild, recording the location using National Grid Reference or What3Words, and a photograph if possible.

These should be sent to https://bit.ly/41lgmpu

To register for the volunteer day on 17 August 17, go to https://www.northpennines.org.uk/event/volunteer-opportunity-removing-invasive-garden-ladysmantle/

The other days in August can be found here: https://www.northpennines.org.uk/events/list/page/2/