The notoriously invasive Japanese Knotweed plant has been making headlines across the globe of late, famously spreading across America and invading the UK’s most prestigious homes in Hampstead.
The plant, which originally came over to Britain from Japan in the 19th century, is known for it’s invasive nature – it can grow at a ferocious speeds even below tarmac or concrete, and spread throughout a property quickly, causing structural damage which can threaten the very foundations of a building. It’s caused many mortgage surveyors problems, with property prices dropping drastically due to the invasive weed and banks pulling out of their lending duties. It’s effects can be particularly devastating for commercial developments – if it invades a block of new build flats before the residents arrive, this plant can cost businesses thousands.
So, if you find Japanese knotweed whilst doing your gardening it might be understandable to find you quaking in your wellies but, if dealt with correctly and professionally, Japanese knotweed can be kept under control.
- Call in the professionals. Japanese knotweed is known for it’s resilience; it’s not easy for an amateur to eradicate. Most removal specialist will follow the PCA’s Code Of Practise regarding knotweed removal, and they will adhere to legislation set by the Environmental Agency.
- Insured? Check if the company you hire offer insurance backed guarantees on their work, in case the weed returns in the future. It’s also recommended that you hire a Japanese knotweed removal company which is registered with the PCA and carries the Trust Mark symbol, such as TP Knotweed, experts in Japanese knotweed control.
- Tell Your Neighbours. The knotweed may not begin and end in your garden. As we’ve already stressed, knotweed spreads fast, so if it is present in your garden, it may well be present in other gardens around you. Now isn’t the time to be worrying about what the neighbours might think; let them know as soon as possible so that you can all arrange a plan together.
- Trim your plants. Trimming the plants itself or the grass around them is more likely to cause hindrance than help. It will cause the weed to spread quicker, so just leave it as it is and wait for the professionals.
- Bin your knotweed. If you have ignored the point above and chopped down your knotweed, don’t put it in your bin! Due to it’s hazardous nature, Japanese knotweed is classed as a controlled waste, which means it must be disposed of in a responsible manner. Putting it in the bin is breaking the law. Instead, you will probably need to take it to a licensed incineration plant, to be destroyed.
- Spray weed killers. Spraying certain domestic plant killers on Japanese knotweed can cause more harm than good. If they’re sprayed during the wrong season or the incorrect amount is used, they will stunt the weed but not kill it. Most Japanese knotweed control plans actually require the plant to be at it’s healthiest for the professional treatment to be most effective.
Once you have been in touch with a knotweed specialist, the next step will be to undertake a Japanese knotweed survey. This is recommended for any property where you suspect the weed may be growing, both commercial and domestic. A specialist surveyor will analyse the extent and severity of the invasion and how far reaching it is. They’ll then devise a Japanese knotweed management plan, which will typically span at least three years. Your knotweed management company will treat the infected area a few times a year with specially selected herbicides and stem injections, cutting it down and disposing of it responsibly until all of the plant is gone.
Japanese knotweed can cost homeowners and businesses thousands if not dealt with promptly and properly. If it is found on your property it’s essential to seek professional advice and guidance as soon as you can. By allowing removal experts to take over the job, you can alleviate your own stresses and continue to enjoy your home.