Two words which consistently strike fear into the hearts of landowners…
This is why it’s essential to know how to manage the treatment and eradication of this invasive weed.
Let’s start by separating myth from reality. What is Japanese Knotweed, and what damage can it do.
Japanese Knotweed is an invasive perennial weed which, though non-indigenous, is extensive across the UK. Its fibrous rhizome root system spreads aggressively, deep out of sight and underground, and if unchecked seriously affects your property.
In winter, Japanese Knotweed dies back. This is why site owners and even surveyors fail to notice its presence. Come spring, however, it emerges and grows rapidly. It wipes out native species as it spreads, posing a threat to building foundations and drains. By early summer, bamboo-like stems shoot up to over 2 metres in height.
At its most prolific, the weed grows 20 cms in a day.
This is coupled with its root system extending several metres in all directions. What’s more, unskilled attempts to deal with it only encourage it to grow more!
Another reason it’s earned such a terrifying reputation is that it’s established practice for mortgage companies to refuse to lend. Insurers will increase the premium if they find Japanese Knotweed on a property unless they put in an approved treatment plan. Inevitably this makes for additional costs. Not only that, but time delays and pressure to resolve the problem before the transaction proceeds.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 sets out landowner’s responsibilities regarding the control of Japanese Knotweed. Added to this, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014 made provision to issue a Community Protection Notice enforcing action to control and prevent the growth of invasive species. This means that, though it isn’t illegal to have the plant on your own property, owners are responsible to prevent it encroaching on other people’s properties.
A planned approach to managing Japanese Knotweed and protecting your site
First, we arrange a site inspection as the plant is mistaken for other weeds such as Russian Vine, Docks or Dogwood.
Then we select the best approach according to site conditions, whether this is the straightforward application of chemical treatments, or comprehensive excavation and removal if rapid eradication is essential for development projects.