Commercial property affected by the intrusion of Japanese knotweed

Commercial knotweed removal is a difficult and often expensive task. However, there are some companies that offer the best services in the industry.

These companies have the experience and knowledge to effectively remove knotweed from your property, and they will do so in a way that is safe for both you and the environment.

Therefore, looking for a professional solution to your commercial knotweed removal problem can be less painful when it comes to eradicating this weed on a property you wish to buy, sell or already own.

What is knotweed and why should you remove it from your commercial property

When it comes to Japanese Knotweed, you should always hire a professional Knotweed specialist who has the knowledge and experience to detect and treat the problem.

Knotweed, also known as Fallopia Japonica is a perennial weed. It arrived in the UK around 1854 and has a high proclivity for spreading if not treated appropriately by a professional. Its rapid spread is owing to the fact that it was introduced to the UK without the insect that controls its growth (the ‘psyllid’).

Knotweed’s crown and rhizomes (root system) inhibit the growth of other plants in its vicinity, and it spreads widely and swiftly underground. Established branches can reach a height of over 3 metres and will colonise every corner of the earth in a few years.

60 percent of its roots reside in the soil underground throughout its primary growing season, making removal extremely difficult and living up to its reputation as one of the UK’s most invasive non-native plants.

It has swiftly become one of the most invasive weeds in the UK, and millions of homeowners, businesses, councils, and developers are being forced to hire a Knotweed expert to help them control it. Japanese Knotweed is currently projected to be infesting nearly 10% of UK rivers, and the situation is only expected to worsen.

Knotweed can cause extensive damage to foundations, concrete, and even buildings. It can also lead to costly repairs down the road. If you have any knotweed on your property, it is important to have it removed as soon as possible.

Japanese knotweed stems grow to over 3 metres in as little as six weeks - commercial knotweed removal
Japanese knotweed stems grow to over 3 metres in as little as six weeks

Reasons to be concerned

Although it is not unlawful to have Japanese Knotweed on your property and there is no legal obligation to remove or cure it, as a land or property owner, you do have the responsibility to keep it under control and prevent it from spreading into the wild or onto someone else’s.

It is classified as “controlled trash” under the Environmental Protection Act of 1990. The weed is not only invasive but also exceedingly hardy, making it difficult to eradicate without infecting adjacent regions of soil and causing damage to the surrounding vegetation. If it isn’t treated and removed by a professional, it will most likely return and spread to other sections of your property.

If you are aware that you have Japanese Knotweed and it is determined that you are not taking the appropriate steps to prevent it from spreading to neighbouring properties, land, or into the wild, you may be penalised by another party who takes you to court for damages.

You must not plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild, according to Schedule 9 of the ‘Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.’

What happens if you do not take action?

If you don’t take steps to stop it from spreading, you could face criminal charges and hefty fines. If you enable contaminated soil or plant material from any garbage you transfer to spread into the wild, you could be fined up to £5,000 or sentenced to prison for up to two years.

This is why you should always choose a skilled and experienced professional, who will provide you with insurance-backed guarantees for the treatment and removal alternatives they provide.

If you are a Commercial Property Owner, Business Owner, or Developer and discover that you have Japanese Knotweed, you should hire a professional who specialises in commercial Japanese Knotweed control and removal to avoid:

  • costly remediation
  • possible prosecution
  • claims for compensation from people who purchase property built on the development site
  • structural damage to buildings and services caused by the knotweed spreading
Checklist for surveyor inspecting a property for Japanese knotweed - commercial knotweed removal
Checklist for surveyor inspecting a property for Japanese knotweed

Reasons to use a contractor

Using someone who lacks the competence and qualifications to use the proper chemicals will almost always result in the disease spreading to previously unaffected areas of the soil. To effectively control knotweed, an expert must implement the proper knotweed plan and treatment package.

Japanese Knotweed grows quickly and aggressively, growing up to 20cm per day during its peak growing season and reaching heights of 3 metres or more. Its roots may grow up to 7 metres horizontally and 3 metres deep

It will swiftly establish itself and grow into fractures in bricks, hollow walls, piping, and other structural components of a building if they are not structurally sound, causing additional harm in its quest for light.

Japanese Knotweed is difficult to recognise because its appearance changes with the seasons, and it can sometimes resemble many other bushes found in our UK gardens.

Its greatest distinguishing feature is the rate of its development; however, you can only see it growing above ground in the spring, and during the autumn and winter, it will be rapidly extending underground, emerging above ground to the width of its roots the next spring.

How to identify Japanese knotweed on your commercial property or land

The shovel-shaped or heart-shaped leaves of Japanese knotweed can be distinguished. They have a pointed tip and are staggered on the stem, one stem per node, resulting in a zig-zag stem growth pattern. They have a vivid, rich green colour and can reach a length of 20cm.

Japanese knotweed blossoms grow in tall clusters of creamy white flowers in late July and early September. Clusters can reach a width of 0.5cm and a length of 10cm. As the flowers expand, the leaves stay the same, resulting in thick, dense foliage.

Japanese knotweed rhizomes, also known as underground roots, are the component of the plant that grows widely underground. The stem is dark brown on the outside and orange/yellow on the inside. When you bend the fresh stems, they will snap readily.

The rhizomes can spread 3 metres deep and 7 metres horizontally from the original plant. This is the section of the weed that is most prone to spread, and even a small fragment of 0.7g can start a new knotweed plant.

Japanese knotweed stems can reach a height of 2–3 metres, sometimes even more, and are similar to bamboo, which is why it is commonly referred to as bamboo. They have nodes with purple speckles, and the leaves spread outwards in a zig-zag pattern from the nodes. The stems inside the weed become hollow as it matures, making them easy to snap, and the stems become exceedingly fragile in the winter.

Fully grown Japanese knotweed leaf resembling a shovel shape - commercial knotweed removal
Fully grown Japanese knotweed leaf resembling a shovel shape

How to identify Japanese knotweed in the different seasons

Spring

Spring is when Japanese knotweed grows at its quickest, reaching heights of 3 metres or more in a matter of four to six weeks. Its fresh branches have a reddish-purple tint to them and are sometimes compared to asparagus spears. The leaves are usually dark green or tinted with red and roll up at the ends.

The early signs of Japanese knotweed buds poking out of the ground in early Spring - commercial knotweed removal
The early signs of Japanese knotweed buds poking out of the ground in early Spring

Summer

The plant is fully grown and over 3 metres tall by early summer, and clusters of creamy white flowers appear in late summer ready to shed and cover the local area.

During the height of Summer Japanese knotweed spreads its seeds everywhere to sustain its future growth - commercial knotweed removal
During the height of Summer Japanese knotweed spreads its seeds everywhere to sustain its future growth

Autumn

Now the plant is at full growth and sheds its seeds all over the ground. At this time of year, the leaves begin to turn yellow and die away for the winter.

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From Autumn to Winter the leaves turn yellow and eventually brown before dropping off the stems

Winter

The knotweed canes die off at the start of Winter, yet it is still alive and well as a weed. The leaves will turn yellow, then brown, and eventually fall off. The hollow canes turn a dark brown colour and become brittle, giving way to each other and dropping to the ground.

During the winter, the roots will quickly expand and spread underground. As the plant begins to aggressively develop again in the spring, the previous year’s canes will be seen beneath the stems and foliage.

Japanese knotweed canes turn brown and brittle during winter - commercial knotweed removal
Japanese knotweed canes turn brown and brittle during winter

Construction and property development sites

There is a varied choice of removal methods for construction and property development sites. However, identifying Japanese knotweed quickly will aid in managing it going forward.

Carrying a pre-site inspection as soon as you know you have a problem will prove to be the most effective way of getting rid of this weed and also keeping costs down too.

If Japanese Knotweed is discovered during the due diligence phase of a property or land transaction, it can be used to negotiate significant price reductions to cover removal costs or to account for the property or land’s subsequent devaluation since the Knotweed was discovered.

If knotweed is discovered, any development investors or mortgage lenders, whether residential, commercial, or land development, must be alerted. Most lenders will want an insurance-backed guarantee in the event that the knotweed reappears, as well as knotweed removal by a professional and adequately qualified Knotweed Specialist.

To ensure that development work is not delayed, developers must adopt a speedy and effective way of removing Japanese Knotweed. Any knotweed must be entirely eliminated before any work may begin, or continue if it has been identified.

Best commercial knotweed removal methods

Below we look at three of the most popular methods employed by contractors to eradicate and manage knotweed on a commercial property.

Commercial Knotweed Removal – Bund / Stockpiling

Bunding, also known as stockpiling, is a treatment that combines stem-injection or foliar application with excavation and removal of subsurface material to a different section of the site. This allows for more herbicide application when ‘new shoots’ appear.

This management strategy is faster than traditional herbicide spraying methods, which take several growing seasons to complete, resulting in fewer delays in development and construction.

Commercial Knotweed Removal – Cell Burial / Root Barrier

The significant costs of transporting infested knotweed soil and debris to a certified landfill can be avoided by using a cell burial method or a root barrier. Cell burial entails burying Japanese Knotweed material to a minimum depth, or closer to the ground surface if encased within a geo-membrane.

Root barriers can be installed both vertically and horizontally (usually when there is a possibility of cross-border contamination), but there must be enough space on-site to permit this technique of removal. This is a fast-acting treatment and removal procedure that is ideal for usage on developing sites.

Commercial Knotweed Removal – Excavation & Removal Off-Site

If done safely and effectively by a competent Japanese Knotweed Specialist, the excavation and removal of Japanese Knotweed material off-site is a lawful procedure and is helpful because it offers a quick management alternative for development sites.

However, because this removal procedure has considerable logistical issues and poses a high risk of the Knotweed spreading during removal and transportation, it is not widely used.

When adopting this type of eradication, there is a legal duty of care requirements under the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990, as well as significant costs associated with transporting the knotweed waste to a registered and approved landfill.

Area cleared of Japanese knotweed from a professional contractor as part of their ongoing treatment plan - commercial knotweed removal
Area cleared of Japanese knotweed from a professional contractor as part of their ongoing treatment plan

What is involved in a Japanese knotweed commercial removal survey?

A survey by us will provide you with an official Japanese Knotweed identification, including the specific location of the knotweed, its extent, hazards, and recommended treatment methods for your business property, land, or development site.

  • Formal Identification by a fully qualified and experienced Knotweed team member
  • An outline of all boundaries and property positions in detail
  • A risk assessment detailing the extent of the knotweed infestation and the risks of it spreading
  • The size of the infestation, where it is present, and what perimeters it breaches or threatens to breach
  • Our contractor surveys are recognised and will provide your mortgage lender, bank or building society with the risk assessment they need in regard to lending on the property and the contractors’ recommended specialist treatment method for both domestic and commercial properties
  • Advisable removal and treatment methods (management plans) for your property and land

The benefits of hiring a professional to remove knotweed

There are many reasons why hiring a professional to remove knotweed might be a good idea.

  • First, they have the experience and knowledge necessary to get the job done properly.
  • Second, they have the proper equipment and tools to do the job safely and effectively.
  • Finally, they will likely be insured in case of any accidents or damage that might occur while they are working on your property.

Below we list the steps that professional contractors take to provide a speedy and competent solution after carrying out a survey:

  1. Early detection of Japanese Knotweed implies you’ll have a better chance of controlling and removing it with fewer costs. The expense of treating knotweed will rise as it grows and spreads, so don’t put off identifying and treating it.
  2. Beginning building or development on a site with knotweed and no management strategy will result in higher removal expenses later.
  3. Mortgage lenders and banks recognise our professional contractor surveys, which will save you time and money in the long run.
  4. When buying land to develop, a survey can protect you by allowing you to factor in the cost of removal into your offer price; this is also true when buying a home.
  5. It evaluates the scope of the problem in relation to your development plans.
  6. As part of most contractors’ identification procedures, it will examine any unregulated plant growth.
  7. For each property, land, and site, different treatment and removal methods are recommended, and a report will ensure that a detailed treatment plan is included. Each contractor’s reports are unique, and the treatment plans are based on the season, site condition, available land, timeframes, nearby properties, and property location.
  8. Professional comprehensive Knotweed Management Plan material includes a full remedial proposal.
  9. The Property Care Association has certified professional surveyors (PCA)
  10. Contractor reports are mortgage-compliant, giving mortgage lenders and home buyers a clear picture of the knotweed’s prevalence and potential consequences.
  11. Your contractor will advise you on the threats to any buildings, structures, and the boundaries of your property, as well as the risk level.
  12. Contractor reports are written in an easy-to-understand format.
  13. Contractor reports contain a full quotation as well as their suggested Knotweed Treatment Program (treatment proposals) that is tailored to your property, land, or site.
  14. Our Contractors have worked with builders and developers to remove big areas of Knotweed and work alongside them to ensure they don’t have to worry about a Knotweed problem in the future.
Knotweed Management Plan Survey - commercial knotweed removal
Knotweed Management Plan Survey

What to expect during the Japanese knotweed removal process

The process of removing Japanese knotweed can be long and difficult, but it’s important to make sure the job is done right. Here’s what you can expect during the removal process:

1. An initial assessment: The first step in removing Japanese knotweed is to have a professional assess the infestation. They’ll look at the size of the infestation and determine the best course of action.

2. Removal: Once the assessment is complete, the removal process can begin. This can involve manually removing the plant, using chemicals, or a combination of both.

3. Disposal: Once the knotweed has been removed, it’s important to dispose of it properly. This usually involves burning it or sending it to a landfill via a licensed contractor.

4. Follow-up: Even after the plant has been removed, it’s important to keep an eye out for regrowth. Japanese knotweed is very good at coming back, so regular maintenance is important.

How to prevent knotweed from returning in the future

Preventing knotweed from returning is a difficult task, but it is not impossible. There are several things you can do to help make sure the weed does not come back.

  1. First, you should remove all of the plant material from the soil. This includes the roots, rhizomes, and any other pieces of the plant. You may need to dig up the area to remove all of the plant material.
  2. Next, you should treat the area with herbicides. There are many different types of herbicides available, so you should consult with a professional to find the best one for your situation.
  3. Finally, you should replant the area with native plants. This will help to prevent the future growth of knotweed.

In conclusion

If you have Japanese Knotweed on your Commercial Land or Property, you should always engage an experienced Japanese Knotweed specialist to detect it since they will have the experience and know-how to advise you on the best control, treatment, or removal approach for your premises or business.

Want to know more about commercial knotweed removal?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up-to-date information, help, and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

The best means to contact us is via our email – hello@knotweedremoval.tips

Do not forget we have a library of blogs covering many areas relevant to Japanese Knotweed, our free downloadable How-to Guides, and Product Reviews on the latest methods being employed to eradicate or remove Japanese Knotweed.

Knotweed Removal, UK

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