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You may be aware of the headaches that Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) can cause for homeowners unlucky enough to find it growing on their property. This pesky plant is notoriously hard to get rid of, and you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you help it to spread into the wild.

Japanese knotweed

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

But even if you already knew all that, the true scale of the UK's Japanese knotweed problem may stun you. This isn't a niche issue that only affects a handful of unfortunate landowners - according to a recent study led by Dr Ross Cuthbert of Queen's University Belfast, Japanese knotweed costs the UK economy a whopping £41 million every year. And that's a conservative estimate.

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Giant hogweed, a plant you definitely don't want in your garden

There are many benefits to a garden that's teeming with plant life. Not only can a beautiful garden make your property more appealing to buyers, some research suggests that tending plants is great for your mental health, plus your local bees will certainly appreciate all those flowers.

But there are some plants that no gardener wants to find in their flowerbeds. Certain species are renowned for their uncontrollable growing rate, or for the damage they're capable of causing. Some plants - such as Japanese knotweed - can even lead to legal trouble if you allow them to spread.

Come with us as we examine five problematic plants that you definitely don't want anywhere near your garden...

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Japanese knotweed flowers

Last year, we received an enquiry from the Llanharan Miners Hall in Rhondda Cynon Taf. They were concerned because Japanese knotweed had spread onto their land from a neighbouring property - quite a common problem, unfortunately - and they wanted to make sure the plant didn't get out of control.

Taylor Total Weed Control carried out a survey of the affected site and recommended a treatment programme, which is now in progress.

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Japanese knotweed can cause a lot of problems on your property so it's important you can identify it all year round! Now that we're moving into spring, you'll probably notice a lot of different plants emerging in your garden, so it's important to keep your eye out for Japanese knotweed. Left untreated, Japanese knotweed can damage your property and can even prevent you from selling your home. 

what does japanese knotweed look like in spring

Image source: Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (Flickr)

Knowing what Japanese knotweed looks like in the spring can help you save money on treatment, repairs, and lawsuits! That's right, people have been known to sue their neighbors if Japanese knotweed has been allowed to invade their property, so spotting and treating it early is a must!

Read More: What to do if your neighbour has knotweed

Japanese knotweed appears in spring

Most people see Japanese knotweed appear in the garden for the first time during spring. Like all plants, Japanese knotweed grows new shoots that grow up through the soil when the weather starts to get warmer. 

Japanese knotweed in spring

Initially, Japanese knotweed spears will appear. They're red/purple in colour and look very similar to asparagus, with a woody stem and a pointed tip. During spring, the leaves of the Japanese knotweed plant are curled up (they're still very young at this point). 

By the end of spring, these small canes can be up to 3 metres high! Japanese knotweed grows quickly, which is another reason why you should keep your eye out for it during spring. 

Japanese knotweed in summer

If by chance, you don't notice the Japanese knotweed in your garden in summer, you might have a chance to spot it in summer before it spreads too far!

During summer, Japanese knotweed has a lot more foliage, it appears green and leafy with only a few speckles of red/purple left on the stem.

When Japanese knotweed eventually flowers, it has small creamy white flowers, which ironically, are quite pretty. Unfortunately, these little white flowers are a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be dealt with quickly. 

Head to our Japanese knotweed Identification page for more information!

Japanese Knotweed Identification >

Remember to check the plants in your garden regularly during spring and summer. If you spot anything that looks like Japanese knotweed, you should get it checked by Japanese knotweed specialists immediately. Contact us for a Japanese knotweed survey now!

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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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