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Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Knotweed

General

Rhizome dormancy can be induced by incorrect herbicide application. Where dormancy exists the knotweed may look dead above ground (or may not even be visible) but the rhizome system in the ground remains alive ready to send up new shoots when the dormancy is broken.

Knotweed Removal operates a free service for the identification of Japanese Knotweed.

This service has several advantages. Early identification of Japanese knotweed is by far the best outcome given how Japanese knotweed spreads so rapidly and easily. This also helps to combat excessive treatment bills.

Knotweed Removal has several various platforms available for individuals to upload photos for identification, including:

Once we’ve checked the pictures, we can talk you through the next steps.

Japanese knotweed isn’t always visible to the naked eye, for example during winter when the plant dies back, or if it’s been herbicide treated in the past it may be lying dormant beneath the ground and could begin to regrow at any moment. Sometimes people try to deliberately conceal knotweed, for example by laying a patio over it.

We only use credible, reliable and above all trustworthy contractors to carry out the work at your property.

Knotweed Removal has a wealth of experience and success within the Japanese Knotweed Industry. We pride ourselves in the exemplary customer service, support, guidance, advice & services we provide from our experienced contractors and this has been the driving force behind the success of our business, ensuring that customers are represented, protected and well-informed.

Our services and processes are uncomplicated, thus ensuring our clients are confident in the knowledge that Knotweed Removal will take full control and responsibility of burdensome Japanese Knotweed removal for you.

We have successfully helped 100’s of domestic and commercial clients with the implementation of management plans for Japanese Knotweed which has also included helping clients navigate the buying and selling process of properties/development of land.

We have successfully dealt with 100’s of lenders and conveyancing professionals across the country and our promise to clients is that we will successfu,lly manage and control Japanese Knotweed.

We also have extensive experience and contracts with landlords, letting agents, property management companies, estate agents, Civil engineering companies, construction companies, housing groups and conveyancing professionals to look after Japanese Knotweed and ultimately, safeguard their or their clients’ assets.

There are different varieties of Japanese knotweed, notably Giant knotweed, which has larger leaves and generally taller plants. It is not as invasive as Japanese knotweed but has the same legal status and treatment methods.

There is also Bohemian knotweed (a hybrid of Japanese and Giant knotweed) and Japanese knotweed var. compacta – a smaller, less widespread variety. 

There are also a number of plants that people commonly mistake for knotweed.  The best way to be sure what you are dealing with is to email us a picture for confirmation to hello@knotweedremoval.tips

There are several pieces of criminal and civil legislation relating to Japanese knotweed.

CRIMINAL LAW

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

There are criminal sanctions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 under which it is an offence to cause or allow Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Environmental Protection Act 1990 includes provisions including a “duty of care” for the storage, processing, treating and disposal of controlled waste. Japanese knotweed and the soils it infests are considered to be controlled waste.

Town & Country Planning Act 1974

There are powers under the Town & Country Planning Act section 215 for Local Authorities to force landowners to clear up land if it detracts from local amenities, including that infested by Japanese knotweed. The Town & Country Planning Act is also often used by Local Planning Authorities by way of planning conditions to force developers to remediate sites infested with knotweed.

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Part 4 of the Act introduced Community Protection Notices and Remedial Orders. The community protection notice can be used against individuals who are acting unreasonably and who persistently or continually act in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 does not explicitly refer to Japanese knotweed or other, similar invasive non-native plants, as the new anti-social behaviour powers are intended to be flexible. However, frontline professionals can stop or prevent any behaviour that meets the legal test in the powers.

The notice can be used to require someone to control or prevent the growth of Japanese knotweed or other plants that are capable of causing serious problems to communities. The test is that the conduct of the individual or body is having a detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality and that the conduct is unreasonable. Under section 57 of the Act, “conduct” includes “a failure to act”.

Infrastructure Act 2015

The Infrastructure Act 2015 gives environmental authorities in England and Wales the power to issue species control orders. These orders will make it possible to compel landowners or occupiers to carry out control or eradication operations or allow them to be carried out by the issuing authority.

Breaching a species control order will be a criminal offence, but owners or occupiers will have the right to appeal to a tribunal and, where relevant, may be compensated for any damage caused by the eradication work.

CIVIL LAW

The presence of Japanese knotweed can have legal implications and consequences for neighbours, landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers of land and houses.

Civil Nuisance (Encroachment)

In the case of Japanese knotweed spreading from one owner’s land to a neighbour’s land, the landowner could face a legal claim by the neighbour. This is because under the common law of nuisance a landowner must take reasonable steps to prevent a nuisance that may cause damage spreading from his land to neighbouring land.

Generally, liability will only arise after the owner has been made aware or should have reasonably been aware of the problem. However, there is a legal argument that could be made to suggest that where the Japanese knotweed has been brought on to the land by the landowner and spreads to the neighbouring land he has a strict liability to his neighbour irrespective of whether the steps he has taken to prevent it from spreading have been reasonable or not.

In either case, the claim is likely to be for damages for the cost of eradicating it from the neighbouring land and/or an injunction forcing the landowner to take steps in regard to its treatment.  In February 2016, in the landmark case Waistell vs, Network Rail – Recorder Grubb found that Mr Waistell had successfully made out his claim in private nuisance against Network Rail. It was found that not only had Mr Waistell’s property suffered from encroachment, but also that the mere presence of knotweed on Network Rail’s land was an actionable interference with the use and enjoyment of Mr Waistell’s land. As a result, Mr Waistell was awarded damages for the cost of treatment and the residual diminution in value of his property after the treatment had been carried out.

The case is significant as it holds big landowners to account and imposes a positive duty on them to ensure that any knotweed that is on their property is not preventing neighbouring landowners from being able to sell their property for market value.  Failing to comply with this obligation will result in awards for damage for the cost of treatment of the knotweed and any residual diminution of value.

In the case of landlords and tenants, depending on the wording of the lease and also whether the Japanese knotweed was present when the lease was entered into, a tenant may find himself unwittingly liable to his landlord under the terms of his lease to have any Japanese knotweed on the demised properly treated or removed.

Misrepresentation

In this context, a misrepresentation is a false statement of fact (relating to the presence of knotweed) made by the seller to the purchaser, which induces them into purchasing the property and causes them to sustain a loss.  It does not need to be the only factor that induced the sale.

The starting point is ‘The Law Society’s Property Information Form’ (TA6) question 7.8.  This requires the seller to say whether the property is affected by knotweed and specifically asks:

“Is the property affected by Japanese knotweed?”

The seller then has the following tick box options available; ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Not known’.

If the seller ticks either ‘No’ or ‘Not known’ to this question but they did in fact know of the presence of knotweed on the property then it is likely that they have committed fraudulent misrepresentation. 

If they ought to have known about the presence of the knotweed or ticked ‘No’ and had no reasonable grounds for believing that the property was not affected by knotweed then it is likely that they have committed a negligent misrepresentation.  An example of negligent misrepresentation would be where the seller knew a plant was growing in the garden but took no steps to seek to identify it prior to completing the TA6.

It can take up to 5 years to completely remove Japanese knotweed through chemical treatments. However, it can be eradicated immediately through excavation, which involves digging it up out the ground. Although this is a more expensive alternative to the more commonly used chemical treatment.

Prices will vary depending on the size of the area to be treated.  Best to contact us and allow us to carry out a free site survey and upon this, we can then give you a firm idea of price and answer the range of questions that inevitably get asked.

  • How long will it take?
  • What is involved?
  • How effective will it be?

and so on …

Check out our blog on typical costs to Japanese knotweed removal – How much does Japanese knotweed cost to remove?

Property

It is true, many sales have fallen through as a result of Japanese knotweed and lending policies.

This being said, Japanese knotweed should not prevent a house sale is completed, it just adds a few extra steps in the process. Once the knotweed is controlled, with a suitable insurance backed guarantee, mortgage providers and others will lend.

See our blog about buying and selling property with Japanese knotweed on it.

Some say that you should avoid homes containing this plant as they may contain high amounts of toxic chemicals which could make your house dangerous for humans and animals alike.

Others argue that there’s no need to worry because professional clean-up teams will take care to remove all signs once located – so long as some precautions are taken.

In the Pre-Contract Enquiry form (TA6) there is a specific question asking the seller ‘if the property is affected by Japanese knotweed?’.

If the seller fails to disclose Japanese Knotweed or knowingly falsifies their non-presence of this dangerous plant, they might be liable for misrepresentation.

There are many laws surrounding knotweed, which can be confusing.

Japanese knotweed is not a notifiable weed nor is it illegal to have it growing on your property as long you don’t allow it to spread onto adjoining land. If this happens, either a civil nuisance claim can be brought against you for allowing the knotweed to encroach onto private land, or you may be committing a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 if you have caused Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild. 

Check out our blog answering this question in more depth about whether to buy land with Japanese knotweed on it or not. 

Under the Consumer Protection Regulations, agents acting on behalf of the seller have a duty to disclose any “material facts”. Guidance to the regulations now includes Japanese knotweed as a material fact.

If the Japanese knotweed is in dormancy we would strongly suggest you not to do this – if you are looking to redevelop/landscape or disturb the ground, complete removal (excavation) of the Japanese Knotweed is advised.

This very much depends on the mortgage lender. Always check with them first.

Most mortgage lenders are happy to lend as long as there is a professional company in place to control the knotweed infestation. Make sure you instruct a reputable contractor like Japanese Knotweed Ltd who are Property Care Association accredited and can document all work being done. 

Check out our blog covering more in-depth how Japanese knotweed can affect getting a mortgage.

If your neighbour has Japanese knotweed, then you should tell them as soon as possible. If they do not arrange to have the Japanese knotweed treated and allow the Japanese knotweed to spread to your land, then you may be able to bring a claim against them.

Yes, if the knotweed is not being treated by a specialist company. However, with the right treatment and insurance backed guarantee most banks and buildings societies will lend.

Mortgage lenders including the building societies and high street banks refuse to lend money in the form of a mortgage where their surveyor identifies the presence of Japanese knotweed on the property. The refusal has also resulted where no Japanese knotweed is present on the site but is on adjoining land. Surveyors employed by the banks are instructed to look out for Japanese knotweed.

Banks refuse mortgages because the plant can cause significant property damage and can devalue the property due to the risk level this poses. This affects the loan to value ratio and reduces the value of the security held by the bank. Lending money on a property with untreated knotweed is just a risk the banks are not willing to take.

The good news is that we do have several residential solutions with an Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) underwritten by an “AA-“ rated insurer that satisfies most lenders.

Our Japanese knotweed removal methods range from herbicide treatment programmes using a foliar spray, or in some cases stem injection, to DART™ which is a method that combines root/rhizome removal with herbicide treatment, and finally physical removal methods such as Resi-Dig-Out™.

For much larger areas our commercial Xtract™ or Dig & Dump solutions may be appropriate. Our work is offered with an insurance backed guarantee, which provides security for the lenders and yourself as the homeowner. If regrowth is experienced during the time of the guarantee, we will treat this at no extra cost.

If you are a buyer or seller with hugely different perceptions of the scale of the knotweed problem and can’t agree on the apportionment of costs, you may find our Survey and Japanese Knotweed Management Plans of use. These can be commissioned by buyer, seller or jointly, to ensure a completely impartial view is given by a professional firm. Once this report is completed, we would be able to undertake the removal work at a fixed cost and provide a guarantee that can be assigned to the new owner upon completion of the sale.

A property with Japanese knotweed on the land can make for a difficult sale. Buyers would much prefer to buy a knotweed-free property because it is one less thing for them to worry about. This is where you as the seller need to make the most out of the situation, in order to make your property attractive to potential buyers.

If you can provide the prospective buyer with all the information they need, it will help to ensure that the knotweed issue isn’t blown out of proportion. Knotweed Removal can guide you through the whole process. We have helped hundreds of clients sell their properties. Here is our list of dos and don’ts.

1. Don’t stick your head in the sand! Concealment or hoping that nobody will notice the knotweed is no way to go about pushing the sale of your house through. Firstly, RICS chartered surveyors are trained to spot knotweed and are obliged to report its presence either on your property or within 7m of your boundary. Secondly, you are actually breaking the law. The Law Society’s TA6 form has a specific question relating to Japanese knotweed and if answered untruthfully during the conveyancing process a legal claim of misrepresentation could be brought against you by the buyer down the line.

2. Do it the right way the first time. You should look to commission a reputable Japanese knotweed removal firm to remove the knotweed and provide suitable guarantees. Don’t fall into the trap of applying home remedies to Japanese knotweed – any DIY attempts will not be supported by banks. These inappropriate treatments can actually induce rhizome dormancy and make any subsequent treatment more difficult and costly. This may make it harder to obtain an insurance backed guarantee, which will be required by any non-cash buyer.

3. Get an expert on board you can trust. You should instruct a Japanese knotweed removal firm to carry out a full site survey, producing a Japanese Knotweed Management Plan. This will assess and report on:

  • The full extent of the knotweed including its rhizome system
  • The likely source or origin of the knotweed
  • The location in relation to knotweed encroachment issues
  • Whether building damage has been caused by knotweed
  • Site-specific conditions that might influence the treatment methodology
  • Full quotation detailing the chosen removal method

At Knotweed Removal, we have Japanese knotweed removal methods suitable for all jobs, so don’t panic if it is a small garden with no access for machinery. Once you have received the report, you will have all the information required to make a clear, knowledgeable decision on whether you want to engage a firm to remove the knotweed or reduce the price of your property and leave the buyer to deal with the issue. For a quick sale, this option is only practical for a cash buyer.

4. Choose the right method and secure the right guarantees. When you are selling your property, you need to consider the requirements of any potential purchaser. It is tempting to choose the cheapest option and hope for the best – after all, you will not see the benefit of the money spent as you won’t own the property! But we think you’ll agree that this is short-sighted – after all, you don’t want to find yourself unable to sell the property.

Firstly you need to ensure that any work you instruct comes with a decent insurance backed guarantee that will be fully transferable to the new owner and accepted by all of the major lenders. Then you need to think about the method of removal.

A buyer is likely to be less inclined to make you an offer if they can’t use the garden for 3 years because of an ongoing treatment programme, but you may not have the funds to pay to have the knotweed fully excavated.

Take the advice of experts in the industry, and don’t be afraid to ask questions before you settle on a solution. You can then rest assured that the knotweed problem is resolved and potential buyers and lenders should find no reason to worry about the knotweed, allowing for a smooth sales transaction.

There are many horror stories in the press and on the web which tend to overstate reality. However, you should treat this highly invasive plant with the respect it deserves – it frequently wins the battle against DIY amateur attempts. That said, if this is the house of your dreams, don’t let the knotweed make it a nightmare. If treated correctly, Japanese knotweed can be eradicated, leaving you to enjoy your house for years to come. Here are our top 5 tips;

1. Identify the scale of the problem. Look to have the knotweed identified by a professional as there are many plants that are often mistaken for Japanese knotweed. You can send us any pictures of the suspect plant, and we will identify it free of charge. Find out more about what is Japanese knotweed here.

2. Understand the liabilities that you’ll be taking on. Make sure you understand the liabilities the knotweed presents because it will be your responsibility as the new owner. Encroachment can be a big issue with knotweed, as knotweed does not respect boundaries when it grows. Has the knotweed encroached onto your land from another property, or did the knotweed originate on your land and spread outwards? If there is a case for encroachment, then the first discussion you have with your new neighbours may not be as friendly as you had hoped.

3. Think about potential damage.  If the knotweed is growing close to the property, it may have caused damage to the building. This may not be immediately obvious, but knotweed can cause damage, especially to underground elements such as drains. The extensive underground system can spread much further than what you see above ground. A site survey is recommended to ensure the full extent of knotweed is examined. This survey will also try to determine where the knotweed originated from, an important fact if you are facing an encroachment claim.

4. Consider your mortgage requirements.  Perhaps most importantly you could have difficulties securing a mortgage on the property, purely as a result of the knotweed. Some lenders reject outright any property affected by knotweed. Others take a more pragmatic view and lend where the knotweed is being removed by a reputable firm and where appropriate knotweed insurance backed guarantees are provided. Speak to your mortgage provider to see what type of guarantee they require. Some ask for a 5-year guarantee and others ask for a 10 year. Make sure you understand what your mortgage provider requires before speaking with a knotweed removal company, as this will ensure you gain the correct level of coverage required.

5. Stay involved.  Don’t fall into the trap of letting the seller “sort out” the knotweed problem. On too many occasions we see a cheap attempt at removal with inadequate guarantees. Insist it is carried out by a firm that you trust will do the job properly and will be accepted by your mortgage provider – otherwise walk away.  If the work has been carried out already, ask to see all of the documentation available – and get it checked by a reputable professional. We provide our unique market-leading insurance backed guarantee underwritten by an “AA-“ rated insurer – you won’t find any better security than that. Let us worry about removing the Japanese knotweed, and you just focus on making your new house your home.

Knotweed Removal has a clear approach to eradicate knotweed:

  1. Preparation of Japanese Knotweed Management Plan, including Site Survey
  2. Agree on the scope of removal work
  3. Undertake removal works
  4. Issue Insurance Backed Guarantee underwritten by an “AA-“ rated insurer

Once these steps have been completed, the purchase can go through without the knotweed being a limiting factor.

Japanese knotweed is not fussy about where it grows, which is demonstrated in our gallery of knotweed pictures. It has an uncanny desire to grow along and across property boundaries, without any respect for boundaries. It spreads its invasive rhizomes and continues to encroach and wreak havoc until action is taken against it.

The damage Japanese knotweed can cause should not be under-estimated, so if you notice Japanese knotweed encroaching onto your land, you should take immediate action.

Notify the adjoining landowner of the problem, preferably in writing. A coordinated approach that tackles the Japanese knotweed on both pieces of land is much more likely to be successful than piecemeal attempts.

Talk to us about a Treatment Plan and try and agree with the adjoining landowner on the allocation of costs. We have a number of different Japanese knotweed removal methods we can use, to ensure that the knotweed is completely removed.   If required, Guarantees can be issued to both properties once the work has been completed.

If you can’t agree on a way forward with the adjoining owner, (some are more receptive and motivated than others) then your options are to look for a Japanese knotweed control method, such as using herbicides and/or vertical root barriers or seeking legal redress.

Japanese knotweed is not fussy about where it grows and has no respect for property boundaries.

The first thing to do if you notice Japanese knotweed encroaching from a neighbouring property is to notify the adjoining landowner of the problem, preferably in writing. A coordinated approach that tackles the Japanese knotweed on both pieces of land is much more likely to be successful than piecemeal attempts. Talk to us about a Treatment Plan and try and agree with the adjoining landowner on the allocation of costs.

If you can’t agree on a way forward with the adjoining owner, then you could look for a control method, such as using herbicides or vertical root barriers. We can advise you on the best course of action.

Legal action should be a last resort, but it is against the law to knowingly allow knotweed to spread to an adjoining property – so if you have given your neighbour notification and they have refused to act, you are within your rights to take action to protect your home.

The legal remedy for knotweed spreading onto your land from adjoining land can be found in civil nuisance. To bring a successful claim, the claimant needs to demonstrate that the knotweed originated from the adjoining land and that the knotweed is causing the claimant owner “nuisance”. It’s not always easy to prove the knotweed origin, but we are usually able to give an opinion based upon “the balance of probabilities”, the test required in a civil case. A site survey will provide evidence to support this.

If you think you are a victim of encroachment please talk to us. We can help you. One of our experts can provide Japanese knotweed expert witness services in accordance with Civil Procedure Rules (CPR 35). We can also put you in touch with lawyers, highly experienced in Japanese knotweed disputes.

There are legal, technical and financial issues that must be addressed.

Japanese knotweed is simply one of the things in life that should not be brushed under the carpet with a botched attempt at removal unless of course, you want to incur delays and major expense at a later stage. While it may seem like a large task to remove Japanese knotweed, you are better off sorting the problem out at the beginning, before any works start. We have a number of Japanese knotweed removal methods that can be used to ensure complete removal.

Many attempts at “controlling” Japanese knotweed are counterproductive. They kill off some of the plants, leaving the majority of the rhizome system below ground in a state of temporary dormancy, ready to resurface when you least expect it. There may be no obvious evidence of the knotweed above ground, but you can be pretty sure that viable rhizome remains. This is what we see in a lot of DIY attempts. The plant looks dead, but it is in fact dormant.

Imagine a development site where viable knotweed rhizome remains hidden in the ground, possibly to a depth of 2m or more, having laterally spread into areas you might think are unaffected. Once you disturb these soils whether by ignorance, accident or intentionally, you would almost certainly fragment and spread the knotweed rhizomes to other areas of your site. This would significantly increase the scale of the problem, and hence the cost of remediation.

All too frequently we are called in to help with removing Japanese knotweed because other less experienced operators have failed to completely kill off the knotweed.

The legal implications of a knotweed infestation

Make sure you understand the law before tackling Japanese knotweed. If you caused the knotweed to be spread off-site, you could find yourself at the wrong end of criminal proceedings under either the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, or the Environmental Protection Act 1990 “duty of care”. Offences under these Acts can result in custodial sentences. If you consign knotweed infested soils off-site other than strictly in accordance with these legislative requirements, whether intentionally or not, you will run the risk of prosecution.

The technical implications of removing knotweed

Botched attempts at treatment or removal make it considerably more difficult for professionals to completely remove the knotweed for you. Trying to find and remove every piece of the viable rhizome is akin, albeit with a difference, to finding and removing all fragments of asbestos that may or may not be in the ground. The big difference is that asbestos does not grow, so usually stays buried out of sight, whereas viable Japanese knotweed rhizomes are living and will grow to the surface, pretty much irrespective of what is put in its way. Imagine it growing through your asphalt driveways/roads just as you are nearing completion of the build – it would have pretty dire consequences on the saleability of the property and in many cases financing.

Where knotweed exists, either within the curtilage of a property or on adjoining land, virtually all UK banks and building societies will refuse lending until it is removed and Insurance Backed Guarantees (IBGs) “from a reputable company” are in place. We know because we receive lots of calls from distressed vendors of properties who have usually just lost a buyer due to funding being refused. Please don’t think that funding will never be granted – once an insurance backed guarantee is in place, the lending should be granted.

The financial implications of a removing Japanese knotweed

Not surprisingly, the financial consequences can be pretty steep. It is not just the cost of remediation you should consider. Many main contractors/developers will be reluctant to take on the risk associated with a site infested with Japanese knotweed. Those prepared to take the risk inevitably price the risk, which of course gets reflected in the purchase/tender price.

If the risk remains with the client and knotweed is subsequently found, then additional costs during the construction stage are almost inevitable to cover professional fees, considerable management time, additional site precautions and delays to the contract, plus of course the cost of remediation. The cost of remediation in these circumstances escalates due to the urgency, as the more cost-effective alternatives to dig & dump may not be available.

Removing the problem prior to letting the main contract is the best solution all around.

It’s possible that your company will be eligible for Land Remediation Tax Relief.

Land Remediation Tax Relief, known as LRTR, was introduced under the Finance Act 2001 for all companies involved in the remediation of contaminated land, whether for commercial or residential purposes. For corporate bodies, LRTR is available at 50% for developers (ie those trading in property), whilst property investors or owner-occupiers can benefit from 150% relief against their qualifying expenditure. If you are not a corporate body tax relief is not available.

The legislation currently permits any expenditure that prevents, minimises, remedies or mitigates the risk of any harm being done to people, property or the wider environment. The harm, or potential to cause harm, must be as a result of a substance or substances in, on or under the land to be applicable. “Substances” include for example heavy metals, hydrocarbon contamination and, arguably Japanese knotweed.

Landfill Tax is now charged generally at the standard (higher) Landfill Tax rate for disposal of contaminated soils following the removal of the exemption in 2008, significantly increasing the cost of the Dig & Dump solution.

Knotweed Removal has various Japanese knotweed removal methods, such as Xtract™. This provides on-site remediation of land infested with Japanese knotweed that not only avoids the punitive costs of Landfill Tax but is also eligible for relief under LRTR.

Damage caused

Japanese knotweed can cause damage to buildings, underground services and landscaped surfaces.

The severity of this damage is sometimes somewhat overstated, although there are many recorded incidents where Japanese knotweed has indeed caused damage. 

Yes, damage can be caused to buildings by Japanese knotweed, particularly where the knotweed has been left to establish itself over many years. However, the extent is often overstated, and some of the horror stories you may read in the press or on the internet are there to sensationalise and scare you.

We have seen cases of knotweed causing damp problems, and have even experienced stems and healthy leaves emanating through vents and air bricks located 2m above ground level. When knotweed grows in cavity walls it has the capacity to force the two skins of the wall apart.

Yes. Underground sewers, drains and land drains are particularly susceptible to Japanese knotweed. The knotweed rhizome will find its way into the smallest hole on a pipe joint to find water.

The rhizome will continue to grow, gradually blocking the drain and finally breaking it apart. We also have anecdotal evidence of Japanese knotweed being spread down surface water drains. Pieces of rhizome break off the parent plant and are conveyed down the pipe, infesting the watercourse with Japanese knotweed at the point of discharge.

Yes, damage can be caused to buildings by Japanese knotweed, particularly where the knotweed has been left to establish itself over many years. However, the extent is often overstated, and some of the horror stories you may read in the press or on the internet are there to sensationalise and scare you.

We have seen cases of knotweed causing damp problems, and have even experienced stems and healthy leaves emanating through vents and air bricks located 2m above ground level. When knotweed grows in cavity walls it has the capacity to force the two skins of the wall apart.

In the height of summer, Japanese knotweed can cause a fence or wall to lean and ultimately fall.

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that grows quickly and spreads to take over large areas of land. It can grow up to 8 feet tall in one year, has deep roots, and will make its way through the smallest openings in a fence or wall.

Yes, the most common form of property damage from Japanese knotweed is caused by laying a hard surface such as asphalt, patio slabs, driveway block paving, etc. over Japanese knotweed infested ground.

The knotweed will have no difficulty forcing its way through any weakness in the formation in its unstoppable quest for light. The general rule of thumb is that if water can go down through the cracks, then knotweed can grow up through it.

No, this is a very common misconception.

There are many recorded incidents of knotweed “growing through concrete”, however, what actually happens is that the knotweed finds a weak spot (eg a crack in the concrete, or an expansion joint) and grows through it, gradually prizing it apart.

Knotweed will find the route of least resistance to get water and light. It gives the appearance of growing through concrete when it in fact has simply exploited the weakness. The general rule of thumb is that if water can penetrate it, so can knotweed.

Surveys and Surveyors

Surveyors have a duty of care to both the homebuyer and the lender to identify Japanese knotweed during a survey, even if the seller has attempted to hide it.

RICS qualified surveyors are trained to look for large masses of vegetation that could signify an invasive plant infestation and potentially cause damage to property. The RICS notes pertaining to Japanese knotweed lay out four distinct categories that property surveyors can use to inform their process.

When arriving on-site, our staff can be identified from the ID badges they wear and are equipped with contractor branded vans; which have the latest tracking devices installed; and a range of the latest treatment equipment and tools, fencing and signage. Vans are also stocked with ‘Chem Safes’ for the safe transport of herbicides and staff are equipped with the necessary PPE to conduct their work thoroughly and safely.

All contractors are also equipped and operate with the latest tablets, with an internet connection, so all data collected from the site is automatically uploaded to our CRM system.

Ongoing monitoring of the infestation site to include follow-up inspections, updated reports and photo documentation. When the infestation is under control a signing off certificate is issued.

Japanese knotweed infestations vary considerably from property to property and therefore each site is considered and treated as unique. A site survey is essential in order for the knotweed surveyor to assess and report on:

  • The full extent of the knotweed including its rhizome system
  • The likely source or origin of the knotweed
  • The status of the knotweed in relation to its maturity, whether active or dormant
  • The location in relation to knotweed encroachment issues with adjoining land
  • Whether the building has possibly been damaged by knotweed
  • Site-specific conditions that might influence the treatment methodology
  • RICS  (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Assessment Framework Classification (inc 7m buffer zone)

An initial Site Survey is undertaken reporting on the above factors, but also outlining the presence of any other invasive plants or ecological issues. The issues are mapped using the latest mapping technologies and a site map, identifying the location and a 7m buffer zone is included. A report is written with time/date stamped photographic evidence from the site and is submitted to the client with recommendations for consideration. To comply with current regulations, we follow strict guidelines before carrying out any work. This includes Risk Assessments.

Recommendations

This is the responsibility of the PCA approved surveyor attending the site who can give a clear direction of a robust treatment programme & management plan. All products will be given approval supported by up to date formulation carrying current legal recommendations.

Typically, Japanese knotweed surveys take 2 working days. Obviously, this will depend on location, size and any other permitting factors.

Most often the Japanese knotweed survey is free. However, if the property is found to be unaffected by Japanese knotweed then a charge would be made to cover time and expenses. Typically this is between £100 and £200 pounds.

When booking a survey, the information required would include:

Name, address, contact details (including telephone number and email) site details, access issues and some questions specific to the Japanese knotweed infestation on the property/site and the history of any previous treatment.

Treatment Plans – initial work begins

Unfortunately, yes it does. If it has been treated with any kind of pesticide, there is a high possibility the rhizome will go into dormancy, making it more difficult to detect the scale of the Japanese knotweed infestation & to give the infestation the appropriate amount of treatment in subsequent visits.

If there have been attempts at digging or removing the Japanese Knotweed, it will be very difficult to recognize the original extent and spread of the plant.

A detailed 5-year management plan including site description, management objectives, levels of infestation, a programme of works, treatment recommendations, as well as actions to be taken to prevent further spread etc is created.

Our contractors are employed to take full responsibility for the Japanese Knotweed infestation.

As well as providing the treatment, we also provide all the required documentation.

The 5-year management plan is comprised of:

  1. A 3-year Herbicide treatment plan consisting of X2 visits per year
  2.  2 years of monitoring the site for any regrowth

Following the 3 year treatment, once treatment appears to be successful, we continue to monitor the site for a further 2 years in accordance with the Property Care Association (PCA) Code of Practice. No regrowth must be observed for X2 years before a completion certificate is issued.

  1. A final inspection & Completion Certificate
  2. 10 Year Warranty & Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) packages available upon request

As we use PCA approved contractors, this management plan is fully compliant with industry standards and is recognised by banks and building societies to allow lending against a property.

As previously identified, infestations vary considerably from property to property and therefore the application technique will too. It may be necessary to use only one method of treatment or a combination of different methods. As this is the nature we are dealing with, our Japanese Knotweed specialists are trained to factor in all considerations in order to achieve optimal results. 

Decisions with regards to the methods of treatment opted for, will ultimately be decided by the ongoing assessment of site-specific infestations and the influencing factors/variables previously discussed.

Therefore, the application procedure, giving the maximum efficacy with minimum waste and environmental impact will be tailored to specific sites.

As PCA approved Japanese Knotweed specialists, we are also guided by the latest research and development which gives guidance to the optimal time for treatment.

The latest research from Swansea University, released April 2018 by Dr Dan Jones & Professor Dan Eastwood found that:

‘applying the wrong herbicides at the wrong time of the year, leads to greater herbicide use and environmental impacts.  The 4-Stage Model that we have developed links herbicide selection and application with the seasonal surface-rhizome flows in the knotweed plant.  This seasonal targeting of knotweed delivers better results and uses lower doses of herbicide across the whole treatment lifecycle.  For the public and land managers, this means more affordable treatment that is also more environmentally friendly than traditional, blanket herbicide application.” (Dr Dan Jones-Swansea University).

Following the release of this research, Knotweed Removal Tips now operate using the 4-stage model which identifies the optimal time for treatment.

FOLIAR SPRAYING

The most common herbicide application is to spray the foliage. We use powerful chemicals with the use of a knapsack. Chemicals are sprayed away from other plants to ensure that other plants aren’t damaged. The most effective time to apply foliar spraying to Japanese knotweed is in Spring.

This is much more damaging to the underground rhizome system than applying herbicides in any other season. A qualified person should carry out any treatment that involves the use of chemicals due to their powerful and harmful nature.

All of our PCA trained and approved technicians are NTPC qualified and have gained-

PA1 Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides

PA6A Use of Hand-Held Applicators on Land

*PA 6AW Use of Hand-Held Applicators on Land & Near Water

*Our contractors work closely with the Environment Agency to ensure an ‘Application to use Herbicides in or near water’ is applied for before the commencement of works near watercourses.

FOLIAR LEAF WIPING

With this treatment, we employ a device to ‘physically wipe’ our chemicals onto the Japanese Knotweed leaves directly.

This means our application is precise and that we can often use a higher concentration of chemicals.

Wiping has advantages over-spraying – the chemicals are being absorbed directly by the Knotweed and there’s less wastage and drip.

It’s also a better solution if the infestation is very near desirable plants and foliage (no matter how careful we are, droplets in sprays can drift).

STEM INJECTION

We apply a controlled amount of herbicide directly into the Japanese knotweed plant. Due to being injected directly into the plant, this is the most crafty method of removal. Unlike other spraying methods (more traditional) it is not dependent or compromised by weather conditions.

With traditional spraying methods, the environment has to be taken into account because rain or wind could cause the chemicals to spread to other species and have the potential to be harmful. Due to the nature of the stem injection procedure, it is 100% safe.

CROWN REMOVAL

Crown and stems are capable of regenerating and even small fragments of cut crown or stem are capable of regenerating and becoming a new plant – removing these from the equation is a great strategy.

New plants will grow from the nodes of pieces of green stem, in soil or water. Mechanical cutters will spread knotweed in this fashion. If stems are dried until they are dark brown, they will not regrow unless the crown (base of the stem) is still attached.

Crown removal is exactly what you would expect from the title. By removing the crowns of the Japanese knotweed plant, we remove the majority of biomass that is underground. With the crowns removed – our herbicide and stem injection treatments are much more effective. All material is removed off-site and disposed of correctly as we hold a Waste Carrier License and follow the current legislation for the disposal of ‘controlled waste’

Knotweed Removal ensures that the company and staff operate under strict guidance and compliance with industry standards to achieve the best results in terms of quality and service and to ensure we are operating in a safe capacity as a company and ensuring environmental awareness.

PCA Membership

Japanese Knotweed control is a difficult and specialist service. For successful Japanese knotweed removal and control for both residential and commercial sites, professional identification, surveying & treatment (including the legal disposal of controlled waste) should be entrusted to the professionals.

Our contractors are registered, approved PCA contractors, thus ensuring our bespoke treatment and removal management plans, within the Residential and Commercial sectors, are fully compliant with industry standards and are recognised by all banks, building societies and lenders to allow lending against a property.

The Property Care Association (PCA) is the trade association representing specialists across the UK who can be trusted to resolve problems affecting buildings.

In order to become members of the PCA, our contractors have met strict membership criteria to demonstrate our company’s technical competence and service delivery standards and can investigate and resolve property defects.

Companies wishing to join the PCA are required to meet and maintain robust membership criteria.  These criteria cover aspects of their services including professional qualifications, technical competence, service delivery and financial stability.

In order to maintain membership of the PCA, member companies also have to maintain these standards and are audited regularly to ensure standards are being maintained.  This gives consumers confidence that PCA members are robust and reliable companies to provide them with property care services.

The PCA also provides an industry voice on behalf of its members and the sectors it represents.  The PCA works with government departments, industry bodies, responds to industry consultation documents and assists with the development of new guidelines, all with the aim of promoting best practices and protecting consumers.

Controlling Risk at Work

Risk Assessment at each site is paramount to identify and raise awareness of any risks or hazards.

The job description & infestation details are documented, treatment procedure options are considered & factors that may influence these are as follows:

  • Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  • Water Courses-(‘Application of herbicide on or near water and close consultation with the Environment Agency is required)
  • Housing/habitable space/outbuildings/garage
  • Footpaths/Public footpaths/highways
  • Playgrounds & Schools
  • Public areas
  • Physical Hazards, trees, pylons, ditches, wind drift susceptibility, steep & unstable ground
  • Fly tipped/hazardous items
  • Consideration of fencing & signage to secure the area
  • Pets/customers
  • Access issues
  • TPO’s
  • Other non-target plants/foliage

The aim is to outline obvious factors needing due consideration and documentation.

Upon the completion of the risk assessment, biosecurity measures must also be outlined and put in place following the codes of best practice. Biosecurity is essential on all sites, at all times, to reduce the risk of spreading any invasive plant. Once the risk assessment has been fully considered, and biosecurity measures have been put in place the next stage is to put forward a method statement. The method will include an explanation to the client of application procedures and understanding of the products which will be recommended by the surveyor and the operating parameters which will have taken into account all elements of risk. Timing of application and weather considerations have to be outlined and equipment types best suited to the tasks are now also considered.

General Risk Assessment includes:

  • Do not use where bystanders will come into contact with the spray.
  • Use only by staff with a relevant National Proficiency Tests Council spraying certificate.
  • Check equipment regularly for leaks.
  • Carry out a COSHH assessment before working.
  • Have spill kit available on site.
  • Do not use where watercourses or water bodies (except with Environment Agency permission), non-target plants or sensitive areas, (e.g. play areas) will be affected by spray drift.
  • Use only by trained operatives.
  • Ensure pre-use checks are completed.
  • Ensure maintenance schedule is completed.
  • Use care when handling.
  • Wear personal protective equipment.
  • Follow chemical manufacturer’s directions.
  • Do not use near people – exclude people from the area of operation and warn people on neighbouring land of the planned use.
  • Have an emergency procedure in place for those who come into contact with the spray.#
  • Use the correct lifting technique.
  • Place on waist-high bench before lifting onto operator’s back
  • COSHH- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health

With the use of any hazardous chemicals, COSHH assessment sheets are also required as this concentrates on the hazards and risks associated to hazardous substances to the individual and to manage the exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health.

All our contractors are fully trained with the relevant NTPC qualifications

  • PA1 Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides
  • PA6A Use of Hand-Held Applicators on Land
  • PA 6AW Use of Hand-Held Applicators on Land & Near Water

In addition, our staff have

  • CITB Site Safety Plus- Health & Safety Training
  • CITB Site Safety Plus- Site Safety Training
  • CSCS- Construction Skills Certification Scheme

ISO9001 & ISO14000

Our contractors are certified with the ISO9001 & ISO14000 accreditation.

ISO9001 – the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organizations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO14001– is the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). It provides a framework that an organization can follow, rather than establishing environmental performance requirements.

A 5 year, in-situ, herbicide management plan is essentially a ‘control’ method that puts Japanese Knotweed into dormancy. As the rhizomes are not being removed from the soil, if the soil were to be disturbed, the Japanese Knotweed would become viable and start to grow again. Disturbing the ground could also fragment the rhizome system, leading to the spread and regrowth of the Japanese Knotweed.

  • To minimise spread, if you cannot control access, fencing and warning signs should be used to prohibit unauthorized access into the affected area.
  • During the application of herbicide, please keep persons and pets out of the area. The herbicides used are not harmful to mammals if used correctly, however, unnecessary exposure should be avoided.
  • Do not allow the above ground knotweed vegetation to be trampled on, cut down or damaged. Damage to the above-ground part of the plant makes the treatment using herbicide less effective. In certain circumstances, it can also lead to further spread.
  • You should also notify all relevant parties with access to the infestation that the cutting down/pulling out of any Japanese Knotweed is not permitted during a treatment programme as to do so would severely hinder the control of the Japanese Knotweed, or worst case scenario causes new infestations to occur.
  • A 1m boundary should be left around the infestation to avoid contaminating surrounding soil.
  • It is imperative that no Japanese Knotweed is permitted to be disturbed, broken/pulled during an in situ control programme as this will delay control timescales and potentially increase control costs in the end.

You can but you must do this with extreme care. When the knotweed material has been excavated, cut the stems and leaves and leave it to dry before burning it, ideally without contact with the soil.

The knotweed material must be burnt on site and not be burnt anywhere else as you could potentially carry a fine and in extreme cases, a custodial sentence. Bear in mind though, in its native area, Japanese knotweed grows on volcanic ash and around hot fumaroles. Check the local bylaws with regards to burning/bonfires.

No. The herbicides we use are completely safe for your children and pets. The herbicide we use is safe when wet, but for precaution, we advise that pets and children are kept out of the treated area for approximately 1-2 hours following application until the herbicide has dried.

A glyphosate-based weedkiller is the best option here, though bear in mind it can take several applications, over up to four seasons, to completely eradicate Japanese knotweed. It’s best applied to cut canes so the weedkiller can thoroughly penetrate the plant and roots. 

The best way to get rid of Japanese knotweed is through execution and persistence. The plant has many features that make it difficult for professionals, but there are ways they can execute their plan without any problems at all!

Prices will vary depending on the size of the area to be treated.  Best to contact us and allow us to carry out a free site survey and upon this we can then give you a firm idea of price and answer the range of questions that inevitably get asked.

  • How long will it take?
  • What is involved?
  • How effective will it be?

and so on ..

As a guide, we explored the typical costs in removing Japanese Knotweed and listed in this blog – How much does Japanese knotweed cost to remove?

It can take up to 5 years to completely remove Japanese knotweed through chemical treatments. However, it can be eradicated immediately through excavation, which involves digging it up out the ground. Although this is a more expensive alternative to the more commonly used chemical treatment.

Management Plans – ongoing work continues

It is very important that any Japanese knotweed infestation is allowed to grow during the spring/summer season as our methods of treatment have more impact after this time.

We follow the 4 stage model which is based on the very latest conclusions drawn from the research conducted by Swansea University, released April 2018. Based on the results of the research, there is an optimal time to apply herbicides in order for them to

  1. Have the most impact.
  2. Reduce herbicide use and therefore reduce the environmental impacts.
  3. And finally, ultimately reduce costs due to the decrease in the ‘typical’ blanket herbicide application.

All relevant parties, who work on your land, will need to be advised regarding the presence of Japanese Knotweed infestations. All relevant parties would also need to be notified that the cutting down/pulling out of any Japanese Knotweed is not permitted during the treatment programme as to do so would severely hinder the control of the Japanese Knotweed, or worst-case scenario causes new infestations to occur.

A 1m boundary should be left around the infestation to avoid contaminating surrounding soil & it is imperative that no Japanese Knotweed is permitted to be disturbed, broken/pulled during our in-situ control programme as this could potentially delay our timescale and potentially increase our control costs.

Japanese Knotweed is capable of growing 6cm per day and is found throughout the UK. It is highly invasive and has the capability to regenerate from rhizomes as small as 0.4g, therefore there is a highly substantial risk of spreading the plant via groundwork and disturbance.

As we are dealing with nature, a fundamental part of any successful treatment plan is the ongoing assessment conducted by our highly trained, qualified surveyors/technicians. The assessment of previous treatment & the methods used is continuously assessed to ensure a successful outcome. It is during this ongoing assessment that any necessary changes in methodology or number of applications are identified as a ‘one fit, does not fit all and each infestation must be looked at independently. Any changes to the methodology or additional visits required will be discussed with the client and agreement to ongoing treatment will be sought based on the assessment of individual sites.

Every visit/treatment conducted is recorded by our staff in the form of a ‘Treatment’ record with details including:

  • Date and time of visit
  • Surveyor/technician details
  • Log- detailing any growth, methodology used, factors/variables & considerations to treatment
  • Photographic evidence
  • Recommendations

Each visit is conducted and the completed paperwork is recorded for each specific site, on our CRM so all details are stored in one, accessible place and any information relating to any specific site can be easily accessed at any given time.

Final Site Visit

Following the successful management plan of X2 treatments over a 3 year period, our contractors will continue to monitor each site for a period of X2 years to monitor for regrowth. 2 years of no regrowth is required before we issue a Completion Certificate.

On the final site visit, a completion certificate, 10-year site warranty and guarantee will be issued.

10 Year Warranty & Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) packages are available upon request.

Insurance Backed Guarantee (IBG) is provided through Guarantee Protection Insurance Ltd (GPI) which is an independent insurance company approved by the PCA trade body.

GPI offer 2 types of IBG’s. The Complete Package or Knotweed Express.

Maintenance & Removal

No, this would be illegal. Japanese knotweed is classed as “controlled waste” and needs to be cut down carefully and either burnt on-site or taken away to a licensed landfill site or incineration facility. Remember to use a heavy-duty garden bag as these will be less likely to tear and run the risk of contamination via transportation.

Yes, but you must keep the knotweed waste on-site or dispose of it at a licensed landfill. Using heavy-duty garden bags that are designed for knotweed is advisable as they will be more reliable for transportation.

Remember to clean the mower before mowing other parts of the garden.

No, as this could lead to knotweed taking root growing in your compost heap and leading to you spreading it elsewhere on your land.

No, it can’t. Whilst the leaves drop off in the autumn/winter, they should not cause concern regarding the plant’s spread.

The environmental agency published a guide on how to dispose of Japanese Knotweed including;

1. Burning

Japanese Knotweed is less likely to survive if it is burnt and it means there is less to bury or dispose of. If you are considering burning Japanese Knotweed, then local laws must be taken into account as well as the potential to cause pollution.

2. Burying

Japanese Knotweed should be buried at least 5m deep within impenetrable barriers or plastic sheeting. However, before burying Japanese Knotweed on a development site, you will need to consult with the Environmental Agency to ensure the quality of groundwater will not be affected in any way.

3. Approved Landfill Disposal

Japanese Knotweed can only be disposed of within licenced landfill sites. It is recommended that you contact the landfill site in advance so they can prepare a suitable area for the Japanese Knotweed to be disposed of.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bracken

General

Cutting: The aim is to cut twice each season. First, cut in about mid-June (mid-July if ground-nesting birds may be present) when the bracken is 50-75 cm high (this cut may have to be later in the uplands) and again six weeks later. This twice-yearly cutting is likely to be required for at least 3 years.

Because it contains carcinogens associated with oesophageal and stomach cancer, bracken should not be eaten by people or livestock. It is not suggested to eat the young fronds, which are regarded as a delicacy in Japan and areas of North America.

Bracken spores are carcinogenic, and it’s been argued that the practice of eating bracken in the Far East is linked to greater rates of stomach cancer in these areas. Bracken has the ability to infiltrate heathland, grassland, and moorland with minimal resistance.

Bracken and ivy are the most common poisonous plants you’ll come upon. Both of these can cause skin irritation and itching, and if ingested, they can make your dog very sick. Keep a watch on your dog near these plants and notify your veterinarian if he or she becomes itchy or unwell.

Ferns are bi-pinnate, meaning the leaflets divide twice to generate the distinctive fronds. Bracken, on the other hand, has three layers of leaves. This implies that the leaflets divide three times, resulting in each frond having its own miniature frondlets – similar to a small green comb.

The curling fern, which appears to be spreading like a bad, green rash across moor and heath at an alarming rate, not only degrades the environment, but also harbours a tick that transmits Lyme disease to humans, poisons cattle, horses, sheep, and people, and its spores are one of the latest cancer suspects.

Due to bracken spreading within warm climates, it provides an excellent habitat for ticks. Ticks are tiny blood-sucking arachnids that can be found in areas of dense vegetation, such as long grass or bracken.

Maintenance & Removal

Tordon can be used up to 1 metre away from a watercourse. Picloram is a selective herbicide that affects broadleaved weeds but will not damage grass allowing the grass to spread into the area previously occupied by the Bracken. Another alternative is to apply glyphosate through a microwipe weed wipe.

Bracken is a perennial with a rhizome structure that is heavily branched and buried 10-45 cm deep. The rhizome system is made up of dense underground storage organs and thinner, shallow rhizomes on which the fronds are carried.

It can take years to entirely remove bracken by chopping it. The bracken should be trimmed three times during the season, ideally. All save the tiniest portions should be chopped using a scythe or brushcutter.

Frequently Asked Questions about Brambles

General

Brambles have long, thorny, arching shoots, which can grow 1.8-2.5m (6-8ft) in length, and root easily where the tips touch the soil.

Brambles can become a problem where seedlings are allowed to take root, or where stems of established plants have rooted at intervals.

Systemic weed killers are best for this method as they are very effective at killing off the entire plant. You are recommended to use a weed killer containing either glyphosate or triclopyr, as these chemicals are the strongest for the job.

Suckers can emerge from roots that are 45 cm deep in the soil. Brambles also regenerate from fragments of root and stem. Bramble seeds can pass unharmed through the digestive system of birds and germination is often enhanced.

Brambles are not known for being poisonous but some people may be allergic to them if they come into contact with their thorns or leaves.

Maintenance & Removal

The first method is to use fire to burn the bramble area down to the ground. Of course, this method is only acceptable for places away from buildings or fences, and where the fire will not pose a significant threat to the surrounding area. In damp or extremely humid circumstances, this procedure will clearly be significantly more difficult. If you’re using fire to clear bramble thickets, it goes without saying that you should always keep fire safety in mind.

Hiring or purchasing a flame thrower might make clearing huge amounts of brambles more organic.

However, the environmental impact of utilising such technology must be considered. It is not a good idea to pollute the cleared area with any form of accelerant if you intend to use it to grow food.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chinese Knotweed

General

Just like Chinese knotweed, several other plants look like Japanese knotweed. These plants do not necessarily have all the features of the Japanese knotweed, but they are similar in a way that can lead to confusion. In conclusion, Chinese knotweed is not the same as Japanese Knotweed.

The most easily identifiable trait of Chinese knotweed is the leaves which are heart or shovel-shaped. The plant, however, looks different depending on the time of the year. In the spring, when it’s first beginning to grow, the shoots have a red or purple colour.

Chinese knotweed is a scrambling vine that can also be a shrub. Depending on what it’s climbing over, it can reach different heights. It can attain heights of up to 1m if grown as a shrub without assistance. The leaves are soft, wavy-edged, and have a white splotch in the shape of a “V.” They are 4-16cm long, soft, and wavy-edged. The stems are pinkish, while the flowers are cream/pink.

Chinese knotweed spreads by both seeds and root fragments. Seeds are spread by birds. Seeds and root fragments can be spread by people dumping garden waste and via vehicles and machinery.

The plant thrives in all climatic conditions and is spread through fragments of root, stem, and crown cuttings. This invasive knotweed produces new shoots each year from the rhizomes, buds, or crowns. The shoots begin appearing in mid-spring to the last weeks of summer.

The root tubers are irregular, cymbiform; the approximate dimension is about 6 to 15 cm long and 4 to 12 cm in diameter. The tubers are reddish-brown in colour, wrinkled, and consist of transverse and longitudinal lenticels.

Once you have identified Chinese knotweed and wish to prevent it from growing any further, the best approach is to cut down and remove the canes. Next, apply Glyphosate-based weed killer to the freshly cut stems.
Wait at least 7 days to see that the weedkiller has taken effect.
Reapply Glyphosate over the coming months and in between keep mowing and cutting the weeds to prevent regrowth.

The whole flowering plant is used to make medicine. Knotweed is used for bronchitis, cough, gum disease (gingivitis), and sore mouth and throat. It is also used for lung diseases, skin disorders, and fluid retention. Some people use it to reduce sweating associated with tuberculosis and to stop bleeding.

Frequently Asked Questions about Russian Vine

General

It is self-supporting thanks to its tendrils, but as with all young plants, water it thoroughly at first to avoid drying out. It will reach a height of 12 metres, or about 40 feet.

This thorny deciduous climber is literally swamped with panicles of small, funnel-shaped, pink-tinged white blooms in August and September. In the sun or partial shade, it’s ideal for covering an unattractive structure or wall, but plant with caution because it’s exceptionally fast-growing and can choke out everything in its path!

The Russian Vine is a high-maintenance climbing vine that originates in South East Russia and Iran. It grows at a quick rate of knots and can add over 13 feet in a year. This makes them ideal for swiftly concealing unsightly objects or screening walls.

In terms of biology, the Russian vine is perhaps the most comparable to Japanese knotweed. It belongs to the same genus as the female Japanese knotweed and can even pollinate it (though this rarely results in a viable hybrid). It features spade-shaped leaves and grows at an exponential rate, just like knotweed.

It grows by twisting itself around other plants and bears green-tinged, creamy blossoms with a lovely vanilla scent. It can completely cover a hawthorn bush and even grow to the tops of hedgerow ash trees, similar to Russian vine.

Maintenance & Removal

Cut the vines 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) above ground level using a pair of lopping shears. After each cut, use a little paintbrush dipped in a glyphosate-based systemic pesticide to paint each clipped vine.

Herbicide: Spraying mile-a-minute weeds with a foliar non-selective herbicide treatment, which passes into the plants’ roots and kills them, is one technique to control them. Apply after mid-July with a 1% solution. Organic approaches are more environmentally friendly, thus chemical control should only be employed as a last resort.

Mechanical: You can also use force to start taming mile-a-minute weeds. Mow them down or pull them up by hand. If this seems like too much effort, consider using cattle as a control mechanism. It’s also a good idea to bring in goats or sheep for focused grazing. This is especially beneficial in regions where machinery is difficult to reach. Remember that the most important thing to remember when getting rid of these weeds is to keep the seeds from spreading. Before the seeds mature, chop or spray the vines, and keep a lookout for new vines to emerge.

Biological: You can also bring in reinforcements in the shape of mile-a-minute weevils, Rhinocominus latipes Korotyaev, to help you fight the weeds. This invasive vine can be controlled by these small insects, which have a host particular to mile-a-minute weed plants.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stinging Nettles

General

Although the presence of nettles in your garden is a flattering indicator of well-cultivated, healthy soil, coming in from the garden covered in tingling blotches caused by their tiny stinging hairs is everything but lucky. The stiff stems of nettles produce little white flowers in late summer, which release long-lived seeds, and the horizontal creeping stalks can root from the nodes where their leaves emerge to form new plants.

Maintenance & Removal

The majority of nettles in our herbaceous border were eradicated after two treatments with Vitax SBK. This gave it a modest advantage over glyphosate sprays, which were likewise successful.

However, when the sprays missed or splashed off the nettle leaves, both treatments caused damage to beautiful plants. Because you could cover the weed with the Hozelock Wonderweeder’s plastic splash shield before spraying, it was ideal for treating short, young nettles without splashes.

Digging up the nettles was just as successful as hoeing in controlling their numbers, but it produced superior results in terms of nettle reappearance in our trial bed the following spring.

Stinging nettles became stunted after being repeatedly burnt, but any part of the plant not treated will send out new shoots. 

In short, no, as the nettles spread not only by seed but also through their rhizome root system. 

Therefore unless you remove the roots too, it will come back with a vengeance.

Want to know more?

If you have any additional questions you wish to ask and we have not covered them here, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via our email: hello@knotweedremoval.tips