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Tree stump

When a tree is cut down, a stump of wood is usually left behind. These unsightly stumps can be removed via a process called stump grinding, where specialist machinery is used to grind the wooden tree stump down to chippings.

But is this actually necessary? Granted, a bare tree stump can be unattractive, but are there are any reasons to remove a tree stump other than making the landscape more picturesque?

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Last month, the Daily Mail reported that a homeowner in Buckinghamshire had found Bohemian knotweed (Fallopia x bohemica) growing in his garden. Stuart Marshall from Aylesbury ended up calling in an invasive weed specialist to remove this troublesome plant from his property.

Bohemian knotweed leaves

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Now, we've talked about this plant before on the Taylor Total Weed Control blog - you can read our guide to Bohemian knotweed here (highly recommended for the Queen references alone).

Just to recap:

  • Bohemian knotweed is a hybrid species that occurs when Japanese knotweed cross-fertilises with giant knotweed.

  • Like Japanese knotweed, Bohemian knotweed is an invasive species that can spread very rapidly and reduce the value of affected properties.

  • It's safe to assume that Bohemian knotweed is subject to the same laws as Japanese knotweed.

 

Should UK homeowners expect to see more Bohemian knotweed in the near future?

The Bohemian knotweed in Mr Marshall's garden made the news because this hybrid species is currently quite rare. According to the aforementioned Mail article, just 2% of UK knotweed cases involve Bohemian knotweed at the moment.

But it seems probable that Bohemian knotweed will become an increasingly common problem as time passes. Japanese knotweed is known to grow very rapidly - especially during the summer months - and Bohemian knotweed is no slouch in that department either. If the hybrid species is not kept under careful control, it could very well spread far and wide, affecting properties throughout the UK.

If you think you have Japanese knotweed, Bohemian knotweed or another invasive weed in your garden, call Taylor Total Weed Control on 029 2039 7554 today. Our weed control experts will diagnose the problem and recommend a suitable treatment programme.

Request a Knotweed Survey

When it comes to the treatment of Japanese knotweed, there are a number of options to consider. The two most popular choices, however, are those of excavation and herbicide application.

Now, we know excavation may sound a little scary but we can assure you that your whole garden isn't going to be ripped to pieces. Regardless, the thought of having a digger on or around your property tearing away at the ground can be somewhat offputting, therefore herbicide application is often the go-to choice for many homeowners.

One of the many discussed treatments is glyphosate, an active ingredient in many herbicides. But does glyphosate kill Japnese knotweed off completely? Let's find out...

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winter garden

 If you read our blog "When is the Best Time to Treat Japanese Knotweed?" you'll know that the plant prepares to die back in the autumn months by moving all its nutrients down into its rhizomes. Introducing the herbicide at this critical point in the weed's lifecycle will help ensure it doesn't re-emerge again in Spring.

But what does Japanese knotweed look like in winter? Well, like most plants, when the temperature in your garden plummets, they die back for the winter. Plants with rhizome systems like Japanese knotweed will preserve their energy and survive under the soil until more favourable conditions return. 

As for the plant you see above the surface, it becomes dry, brittle and brown. The stalks which were once red and purple and full of leaves have turned woody and bamboo-like. The canes are hollow and will collapse around each other as they die. If the area hasn't been treated until this point, you can't guarantee that the knotweed won't come back stronger in a few months time. That's why swift Japanese knotweed treatment is always recommended.

More on Japanese Knotweed Identification >

What should I do if I suspect I have a knotweed problem?

Whether you spot Japanese knotweed on your property is spring, summer or winter, it's vital that you get in touch with a professional removal company right away. You CANNOT rely on the winter months to take care of the knotweed problem for you. 

We can survey your garden free of charge to find out if the plant you've spotted is actually Japanese knotweed. If it is, we'll be able to offer you a quotation for thorough removal, meaning the knotweed won't have a chance to spread around your property further. 

Request a FREE Japanese Knotweed Survey >

If you have any questions about identifying Japanese knotweed, or if you'd like to speak to our team about treatment. Email us at sales@taylortwc.co.uk or call us on 029 2039 7554.

 

In an attempt to control the rapid spread of Japanese knotweed in Holland, the Dutch government has issued an exemption to alien species ban.

Image: Pixabay

The once-celebrated plant that has now turned into one of destruction is causing huge problems within Holland, and as a result, five thousand Japanese leaf fleas have been released in a last-ditch attempt to control it. Japanese knotweed within the country has become an increasingly problematic issue, which has begun to threaten local biodiversities, damage water quality and increase risks of floods. As a result, the government took the unusual decision to issue an exemption on a ban on the introduction of alien species as the spiralling costs related to knotweed damage started to mount. 

Japanese knotweed is causing huge amounts of damage within the Dutch capital, particularly to pavements, building foundations and dykes, leading to millions of euros in costs each year. According to tests, leaf fleas carry the ability to kill young shoots, preventing the plant from growing by sucking up its sap. This has resulted in an initial 5,000 fleas being released in three distinct locations in hope of combatting the rising problem. It is hoped that the fleas will successfully hibernate over the winter and establish themselves within the new year with further specimens planned to be released next spring.

 

Knotweed in the Netherlands

Japanese knotweed was introduced and cultivated as an ornamental plant in the Netherlands between 1829 and 1841 by German botanist Phillip Franz von Siebold. Its aggressive root system, which has the ability to grow up to 20cm per day and breakthrough concrete, has caused major issues in many countries across Europe. Previously, the Dutch capital has attempted to control the spread of knotweed through means of hot water, fire and lasers but through no avail. The government is now playing its hopes on the colony of leaf fleas to curb the damage being caused. 

One of the leading entomologists at the Institute of Biology in Leiden, Suzanne Lommen who is coordinating the trial, says "All sorts of things have been tried, but complete pest control is extremely difficult and very expensive. We will have to combine various methods to get the Asian knotweed under control. We know from the Japanese knotweed psyllid that it can kill young shoots and slow down or even stop the growth of the plant by sucking up sap – nutrition – from the plant.

“If the psyllid can establish, reproduce and spread, and do the damage we see in the breeding trials, it can hopefully inhibit the growth and spread of Asian knotweed. Then you have a very cheap and environmentally-friendly solution with many years of effect that you can combine with the more expensive methods.”

Lommen continues by stating that the fleas may not take to the Dutch climate, saying "What we do not know yet is how the psyllid will thrive in the Netherlands,” she said. “It comes from an area in Japan where the climate most resembles that of the Netherlands. In the laboratory, it thrives on the interbreed knotweed that grows here. But reality will show whether it can survive in our country.”

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For more updates regarding Japanese knotweed in the UK and around the world, be sure to keep an eye on Taylor Total Weed Control's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Our Japanese Knotweed Services >

Is Japanese knotweed poisonous?

SHORT ANSWER: No, Japanese knotweed is not poisonous. In fact, the plant can make a tasty and nutritious addition to all sorts of different recipes!

Japanese knotweed is a troublesome plant that causes a lot of problems here in the UK. It grows very quickly, it can cause damage as it spreads, and if there's Japanese knotweed in your garden, you may find it difficult to sell your property.

Still, knotweed's not all bad. Unlike some other invasive plants (such as giant hogweed, whose sap can cause severe skin inflammation), Japanese knotweed is not directly harmful to humans - you can actually cook it and eat it with no ill effect.

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Horsetail, also known as marestail or Equisetum arvense to the Latin speakers among us, is a common perennial plant that grows up and down the country. Easily spread and difficult to kill, horsetail is one of the more awkward weeds to control. Even a small amount of horsetail can spread very easily and quickly throughout your garden. Here, the roots spread far and wide while the plant itself reproduces using spores rather than seeds.

However, despite horsetail being a nuisance when it comes to removal, it can be done! This blog looks at the methods of horsetail removal and how Taylor Total Weed Control can help you if you have horsetail in your garden. 

Horsetail in the garden

Image: Pixabay

Traditional methods of weeding such as slashing and mowing have very little effect on removing horsetail completely due to new stems developing from the roots left behind. This often leaves many gardeners and homeowners frustrated by their unwanted presence.

Issues with horsetail begin during the spring when greenish-brown shoots appear from the ground. These shoots are tipped with small cones that produce spores which spread the plant even further. Therefore, it's best practice to try and control the shoots before they begin to spore.

As horsetail roots being to creep throughout the ground, however, they become quite difficult to spot due to their colour being very similar to working soil and often end up spreading much further than most people realise.

Attempting to dig up the roots before the plant develops isn't very feasible either due to the root systems reaching depths of up to 1.5m! Once the stem has created spores, horsetail starts to develop small, thin leaves throughout the plant that last throughout spring and summer before dying off in late autumn. 

Despite the leaves dying off, the roots remain intact meaning the plant will begin to reappear the next and the cycle starts all over again. 

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As homeowners up and down the country are becoming more aware of the damage that can be caused to their properties as a result of a Japanese knotweed infestation, it is becoming an increasingly dreaded sight.

Initially embraced by Victorian gardeners for its beauty, Japanese knotweed quickly became an invasive presence that threatens to damage micro-ecosystems, roads and properties. But is knotweed really that bad? Let's take a look at some of the facts:

  • Knotweed can grow up to 10cm per day during peak season
  • Eradicating knotweed is very difficult on your own and requires professional help to avoid the risk of further spread
  • Its spread and growth in the UK has caused house and land prices to fall as much as 40% 

From these facts alone, you can see why so many homeowners in the UK are fearful of a knotweed infestation on or around their property. One way to limit the risk of an infestation is to try to prevent the spread of knotweed where possible but in order to do so, we must first understand how Japanese knotweed spreads in the first place. So, let's find out!

 

Spreading Japanese Knotweed

Since we've already mentioned the rate at which knotweed can grow (10cm per day), we can now dive into how it spreads further afield. 

Japanese knotweed has the ability to produce seeds, but surprisingly, these seeds do not germinate. Instead, the weed spreads via the stem, rhizome and crown in the following ways.

Stem

Fresh Japanese knotweed plants can grow from the nodes of the green stem in both water and soil.

Rhizome

Even the smallest piece of knotweed rhizome can grow into a full plant. By breaking up the rhizome into small pieces, you can stimulate it to create small buds which then grow to form each new plant. To avoid this, be sure to never accept topsoil that hasn't been checked as you may be spreading rhizomes without ever knowing.

Crown 

That crown forms part of the knotweed's stem and is able to survive both composting and drying. If you want to dispose of using either the method of drying or composting, make sure you cut the stems right above the crown. Knotweed is able to spread by producing new canes once it comes into contact with soil or water.

 

How far does Japanese knotweed spread?

There is no limit to how far a Japanese knotweed infestation can spread, which is why it has become such a nuisance for so many in the UK over the last decade or so. If it is given the right amount of space and nutrients, it is able to grow indefinitely. Also, as a result of the speed and ease with which knotweed can spread, it has been labelled as an invasive weed by the UK government.

 

How to stop Japanese knotweed from spreading 

Few methods exist which help to stop the spreading of Japanese knotweed. However, these techniques often require professional help in order to be effective. Removing Japanese knotweed usually involves a combination of methods which includes excavation, herbicidal spray, burning and burial to prevent rhizomes from successfully surfacing shoots.

 

If you believe you have spotted Japanese knotweed on or near your property and would like professionals to come out and take a look, Taylor Total Weed Control are here to help! Our team of experienced professionals can survey your property and confirm whether knotweed is present. If it is, we are then able to construct a dedicated programme aimed at removing and stopping further spread of the plant.

To learn more about our expert knotweed services, click here. If you would like to get in touch with a member of our team, fill out our quick and easy form below - we look forward to hearing from you!

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