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Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Every living thing known to man has a Latin name that should be used when referring to that species in a formal scientific context. For example, human beings are Homo sapiens, polar bears are Ursus maritimus, and the common sunflower is Helianthus annuus.

In theory, these scientific names are internationally recognised - what you call a 'dog' is called a 'chien' in France and a 'koira' in Finland, but biologists in all three countries should understand what Canis lupus familiaris means.

So what is the proper name for Japanese knotweed? Read a few articles online, and you may notice that different sources use different Latin names when referring to this pesky plant - Fallopia japonica and Reynoutria japonica are the most common, but Polygonum cuspidatum and various other monikers pop up from time to time as well.

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UK property

Moving into a new home should be a happy experience. You're starting a fresh chapter and (hopefully) moving a step higher on the property ladder. But if you've unknowingly bought a house that's affected by Japanese knotweed, your joy may be rather short-lived.

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Throughout history, invasive plant and animal species that have been introduced to certain locations around the world have caused both micro and macro ecosystems to crumble. Without any natural predators, these new species are often left to cause irreversible damage that results in entire habitats being completely destroyed as well as communities being hampered with costly damage. 

For those of you who don't know, an invasive species can be any kind of living organisms such as fish, insect, amphibian, fungus or plant that is introduced to an ecosystem that they are not part of and proceed to cause harm and/or damage to the surrounding environment, economy or human health. Species can also be classed as invasive if they grow and reproduce at a fast rate, spread aggressively and carry the threat of causing harm. 

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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

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Here in the UK, we have a long list of non-native invasive plant species that cause a myriad of problems. In some parts of the UK, planting, importing, selling or allowing certain invasive species to grow is punishable by up to two years in prison, so it's important that you know your natives from your non-natives before you start planting your flower bed.

When you come across a new plant in your garden, it can be difficult to know if it's an invasive species and (if it is) what you should do about it. Today we're going to take a closer look at some of the most common invasive weeds in the UK to find out a little more about them. Hopefully, this guide will help you identify and eradicate invasive weeds on your property before they have time to do any damage!

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica)

Of course, at the top of our list had to be Japanese knotweed. Noted as one of the most widespread and destructive invasive plant species in the UK, Japanese knotweed can find its way into your garden and cause damage to your home in a matter of a few weeks.

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