Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive plant, and it’s now spreading across the UK. It can be found in gardens, parks and even along riverbanks. So, why is Japanese knotweed a problem within the UK and so hard to remove?

In this article, we’ll look at how to identify it and the problems that it causes which can cause the most concern.

The problem with Japanese knotweed is that once you have it in your garden or on your property, you never really get rid of it – but there are ways to control its growth and prevent further spread.

This guide will give you the information needed to identify if Japanese knotweed has taken over your property; how to spot infestations early; what damage they can cause; how to remove them from your land safely; and finally, how to make sure they don’t come back again.

The very destructive properties of Japanese Knotweed have recently brought the weed to the attention of the general public. The weed spread across the UK has resulted in reports of it causing property damage and costing households hundreds of pounds to repair.

Japanese knotweed is currently a hot topic in the news, but how many of us are genuinely unaware of the issues this plant can cause?

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is an attractive vine with bamboo-like stems and little white blossoms that was brought to England from Japan during the Victorian era.

The velocity at which the weed spreads is its most difficult attribute; each plant can grow up to an inch per day, meaning it has the ability to mature quickly across a broad surface area. Despite the fact that it does not generate seeds, this is the case.

The ability of Japanese Knotweed to produce a new plant from a root the size of a fingernail accounts for its remarkable growth. Because the plant has no natural predators in the UK, it is extremely difficult to control, and it now occupies one site per ten kilometres in England and Wales.

Japanese Knotweed is controlled by a range of pests and fungi in its native habitat, which serves to restrict its growth.

The need for a Japanese knotweed survey to ascertain the extent of the problem and propose a treatment plan
The need for a Japanese knotweed survey to ascertain the extent of the problem and propose a treatment plan

Why is Japanese knotweed such a problem?

Not only is Japanese Knotweed difficult to handle, but it’s also a tough plant that may quickly demolish structures.

Japanese knotweed has the ability to:

  • tarmac and concrete are damaged
  • an increase in erosion
  • structures of retaining walls are damaged
  • Visibility is restricted.
  • building foundations are damaged
  • wreak havoc on flood defences
  • drains become clogged
  • archaeological sites are damaged

The presence of Japanese Knotweed on your property can result in a significant drop in land value. It’s crucial to remember that if the weed is discovered on land that’s for sale, it can impair not just the buyer’s ability to obtain building insurance, but it can also cause mortgage lenders to reject any application for a mortgage on that property.

A branch of Japanese knotweed with its flowers and leaves intact
A branch of Japanese knotweed with its flowers and leaves intact

Legal issues arising from Japanese knotweed

You are not required to declare the existence of Japanese Knotweed on your property at this time, but it is a criminal offence to allow it to grow onto neighbouring property. If the plant is discovered on your land, it is your obligation to control or destroy it.

If it spreads to a neighbouring garden or public land, you might face a fine of up to £5000 and/or six months in prison, as well as costs and damages to the land.

Herbicides are the most frequent treatment for Japanese Knotweed, but if your property is near water, you’ll need to get approval from the Environment Agency first.

Because Japanese Knotweed is classified as a regulated waste, it must be handled by a professional to guarantee that all of the plants, roots, and soil are properly disposed of. Property owners should have the plants and soil transported to an approved landfill by a certified Waste Carrier.

In conclusion

If you think you have discovered Japanese Knotweed on your land you must call in a specialist to assess the situation – simply cutting the stems can accelerate growth and cause it to spread.

It is important to understand that removing Japanese Knotweed can be a costly process, with some cases requiring entire gardens to be excavated in order to dispose of the contaminated soil.

However, it is imperative that Japanese Knotweed infestations are dealt with swiftly and carefully, in order to further damage, costs and potential criminal and civil liability.

Want to know more about Japanese knotweed being a problem?

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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