Japanese knotweed control

Find out how to control for Japanese knotweed.

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed control

One of the most hated weeds in the UK is Japanese knotweed, as it can be a real problem. This is why a professional Japanese knotweed control service is often needed in order to help house-holders prevent it from causing damage to their gardens, paths, and even their home!

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is officially known and the UK’s most invasive and destructive plant. If left unchecked it can grow through tarmac and can creep under houses and push up through the floorboards.

Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK from Japan in the 19th Century, as an ornamental plant. The leaves and stems were felt to be very attractive, as where the creamy white flowers it tends to produce in late-summer and early autumn.

Unlike other plants that we tend to tackle as part of our weed control services, Japanese knotweed does not produce seeds but instead spreads and propagates itself from very tiny pieces of its underground stems (known as rhizomes). These shoot like roots produce new canes whenever they come into contact with soil and water.

How to identify Japanese knotweed

Fortunately, Japanese knotweed is easy to identify through its distinctive heart shaped leaves and hollow green stems, which feature purple speckles and can grow between 2 to 3 meters tall.

The stems of the weed tend to appear in early spring and by early summer they will be mature. The plants tend to grow in clumps, which will tend to turn brown in winter, although they will remain standing if not treated.

Why is Japanese knotweed considered a problem?

Japanese knotweed has very strong roots, which can grow up to 7 metres horizontally and up to 2 metres deep, and are strong enough to push up through concrete and similar hard services, as well as being able to damage buildings.

This means that it can affect homeowners when it comes to buying or selling their house, as many lenders will not offer mortgages to properties which are affected by it, meaning property prices can dramatically fall.

Unfortunately, Japanese knotweed can be really tricky to get rid of, especially if you have never dealt with it before. Leaving even the smallest trace of the plant will mean that it regenerates and grows again, so it is not as simple as digging it up, or even treating it with chemicals.

Japanese knotweed legislation

Japanese knotweed has become such a problem in the UK that there is legislation governing it, which you need to know about if you have it in your garden.

The first is The Wildlife and Country Act of 1981, which states that ‘it is an offence to plant or let Japanese knotweed grow in the wild’. An offence under this Act can result in a prosecution.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, states that individuals and companies must remove knotweed and take action to stop it spreading.

The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 also states that the Japanese knotweed is classed as ‘controlled waste’ which means that by law you have to dispose of it at a licensed landfill site. A violation of this Act can result in quite a hefty fine. You can also be held liable for the cost of any knotweed that spreads to neighbouring properties.

It can take several years to successfully get rid of Japanese knotweed, as even the tiniest piece of root can regrow very quickly. This is why it is better to seek professional weed control services, who will also be able to control and dispose of it safely.

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