Vegetation & Invasive Weed Control
What is Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed was introduced to the UK from Japan over 100 years ago. Originally as an ornamental plant in the lavish private gardens of the time however it has now spread country wide with no area of the UK more than 4 square miles free of Knotweed. It is very fast growing at a rate of over 10cm per day and can force its way through tarmac, concrete, buildings and structures. Causing vast problems to constructor’s and home owners.
The stems are green with red or purple specks, hollow and similar to bamboo, and can grow up to 2- 3m tall, forming dense cane-like clumps. The leaves are green, shield or heart-shaped, with a flat base and are up to 12cm long. Clusters of creamy flowers appear on the tips of most stems from August to October but produce sterile seeds. The roots consist of rhizomes, which are yellow when cut, but can spread to a depth of 3m and radius of 7m
When growing next to buildings & other structures such as walls & drive ways the rhizome can damage foundations & walls growing into cracks creating weaknesses as the rhizome system expands. As with other plants, the pressure exerted by the expanding roots can split structures along joints and force its way up through car parks, drive ways & paved areas. Japanese knotweed rhizomes can cause damage to drainage pipes and other underground structures, blocking and sometimes fracturing pipework causing leaks.
Japanese Knotweed is regulated by many pieces of legislation including
The Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended) 1981
The Environmental Protection Act 1990
The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
This puts responsibility on the landowner to be proactive in the control and eradication of any Knotweed. Planning permission & exchange of contracts will also generally be refused without a treatment program in place.
All parts of the plant and any soil contaminated with the rhizome are classified as controlled waste and are required legally to be removed and disposed of by a licensed waste control operator.
We are specialists in Japanese Knotweed Treatment & Control. Bark and Branch can visit your Japanese Knotweed affected area and come up with a treatment program meet your needs. Often treatment programs will last a number of years and it is important to regularly inspect the treated area as the rhizome (root cells) can lay dormant for a number of years.
Giant Hog Weed.
What is Giant hogweed?
The giant hogweed was brought to the UK from Central Asia in 1893, and is now a common sight on river banks, canal towpaths, woodland and heathland.
The giant hogweed has long, green stems which fork out into groups of small white flowers. It is often mistaken for common hogweed. However, it is set apart by its purple-hued stem, thin spines and leaf stalks covered in dots. Plants have been known to grow up to 3.5m high spread around 1m. The flower heads can be as big as 60cm in diameter.
Chemicals in the plants sap can cause photo dermatitis simply brushing against or touching the plant is enough to release the sap which makes the skin sensitive to sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. It can therefore cause skin to blister or become pigmented, causing long-lasting scars, sensitivity to sunlight & blistering that can re-occur for many years.
Giant Hogweed is regulated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act in the same way as Japanese Knotweed.
What is Ragwort?
Ragwort is a highly invasive plant species which is native to the UK, predominantly colonising areas with poor soil quality. Ragwort is covered in the Weeds Act 1959 where the land owner has a duty of care to control its spread.
Ragwort grows around 2 to 3 feet high with a ridged stem & glossy green leaves the leaves at the base are wider than those at the higher part of the plant. The plant produces a yellow flower from June.
It is a highly toxic plant that can cause irreversible liver damage in livestock and humans. Ragwort is toxic to HORSES and cattle. In livestock the alkaloids act to cause liver damage and potential death. The flowering and seed-producing season can be extremely prolonged, from mid-June until November. It is reported that some plants produce as many as 200,000 seeds per season. Seeds that do not germinate immediately can remain viable for up to ten years.
What is horsetail?
Horsetail is an invasive, fast growing, deep-rooted weed with a vast underground root network that rapidly sends up dense stands of foliage spreading quickly if uncontrolled.
Horsetail is easily recognised by its upright, fir tree-like shoots that appear in April/May.
In spring, fertile light brown stems, 2ft tall, appear with a cone-like spore releasing structure at the tip of the plant.
In summer, sterile green shoots develop into fir tree-like plants, 60cm (2ft) tall.
The creeping roots of this pernicious plant may extend as far down as 2m (7ft) under the ground, making them difficult to remove by digging out. They often enter gardens by spreading underground from neighbouring properties or land quickly taking over boarders, grassy areas and destroying tarmac.