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Mount Fuji and a pagoda in Japan

Japanese knotweed causes a lot of problems here in the UK. It grows very quickly, it's difficult to get rid of, and it can cause structural damage by growing through small cracks in buildings. Properties with Japanese knotweed are difficult to sell, and worst of all, if you allow this invasive species to spread, you can be fined or sent to prison.

Still, if Japanese knotweed is capable of making life so difficult for us Brits, just think of how much chaos the plant must cause back home in its native Japan! Right?

Well, actually, no - Japanese knotweed isn't a big problem in Japan at all. Over there, it's just another plant.

 

Why isn't Japanese knotweed a problem in Japan?

Japan's ecosystem is very different to that of Great Britain. The plant's native habitat is far better equipped to keep it under control; in Japan, knotweed has to compete with lots of other plants for dominance, whereas UK plant species can't really give it any trouble.

More importantly, though, Japanese knotweed has natural predators in Japan - predators that don't really exist in this part of the world. As we discussed in our What Eats Japanese Knotweed? blog, Japan is home to both insects and fungi that attack Japanese knotweed and prevent it from wreaking the kind of havoc it's known for here.

 

Could we introduce those predators to the UK?

Well, maybe. Chelsea Flower Show experts have discussed using the aforementioned insects and fungi to combat the UK's knotweed problem, and it's possible that the idea could have some legs.

But Japanese knotweed itself is a great example of the damage that can occur when a non-native species is introduced to a different country. A plant that's considered relatively innocuous in Japan has caused all kinds of chaos since it made it to our shores - who's to say that welcoming a foreign fungus or insect species to the UK won't have even worse repercussions?

It's not the sort of thing you want to rush into, so for now, herbicides and excavation remain the safest ways to get rid of Japanese knotweed. If you've found this invasive species on your property, call Taylor Total Weed Control on 029 2039 7554 today to arrange a free Japanese knotweed survey.

Contact Taylor Total Weed Control

Japanese knotweed stems

COVID-19 (coronavirus) remains the UK's public enemy number one, and while lockdown measures have started to relax in England, they're still in full effect here in Wales. The Welsh government are currently advising people to:

  • Stay at home
  • Go out for food, work and health reasons only
  • Work from home if possible
  • Stay 2 metres from other people
  • Wash your hands immediately when you get home

If you have a garden, it's probably getting a lot of use right now - after all, spring is in the air, and if you want to enjoy the longer days and get a bit of fresh air, your own back garden is the safest place to do so!

But what if, while you're soaking up the sunshine, you spot Japanese knotweed shoots emerging from your soil?

 

Can I do anything about Japanese knotweed during lockdown?

The good news is that contractors like Taylor Total Weed Control can still provide a full Japanese knotweed removal service while the coronavirus lockdown rules are in place.

Our specialists are able to conduct surveys, confirm the presence of Japanese knotweed, and carry out treatment / excavation as normal - all while following the government's two-metre social distancing guidelines.

Summer will be here shortly, and as we explained in our recent When Does Japanese Knotweed Grow? blog, that's when knotweed enters its most aggressive period of growth. So if you suspect there may be Japanese knotweed in your garden, it's important to take action ASAP - call Taylor Total Weed Control on 029 2039 7554 to arrange a free survey!

Contact Taylor Total Weed Control

Photo by Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (Flickr)

Japanese knotweed growing

Japanese knotweed has a reputation for rapid growth, but this invasive plant's growth rate does peak and trough over the course of a year.

The growing cycle can vary somewhat depending on what the weather's doing, but there is a reasonably consistent annual pattern. Here's a rough timeline of Japanese knotweed's growing behaviour from one season to the next.

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For reasons discussed in our DIY Japanese Knotweed Removal blog post, we DO NOT RECOMMEND attempting to get rid of Japanese knotweed on your own. Instead, get in touch with a specialist contractor who knows how to deal with this invasive species and ensure that it does not spread elsewhere.

How to kill Japanese knotweed

Photo by dankogreen (Flickr)

Broadly speaking, there are two ways to kill Japanese knotweed:

  • Herbicides - spraying the plant with weed killer

  • Excavation - digging the plant up and either burying it or safely disposing of it at an approved landfill site

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Japanese knotweed roots

Japanese knotweed has a durable rhizome root system that can be very difficult to completely eradicate.

Rhizomes - sometimes known as creeping rootstalks - are like plant stems that run horizontally through the soil. Roots and shoots grow out of the rhizome's nodes to seek nourishment as the plant grows.

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Few plants inspire as much dread as Japanese knotweed. This invasive species can make it difficult to sell your house, and even if you get rid of it, there's a chance the plant will grow back again if there's so much as a single fragment still in the soil.

Another oft-cited reason to fear Japanese knotweed is the damage it can cause as it grows in search of moisture and nourishment. Some descriptions would have you believe that Japanese knotweed is a rampaging triffid-esque plant monster, capable of demolishing any structure that gets in its way.

Well, you can rest assured that Japanese knotweed won't be knocking over any buildings in the near future. What it can do is exploit existing weaknesses in a structure - for instance, we often see Japanese knotweed growing through cracks in brick walls and concrete paving.

Japanese knotweed damage

Photo by Gordon Joly

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Garden spades in the soil

We usually treat Japanese knotweed by spraying the leaves with herbicides. A typical knotweed treatment programme consists of multiple herbicide applications over a period of 3 years, followed by a 2-year monitoring period to ensure that the problem is under control.

If time is of the essence, excavation is a quicker (but more expensive) alternative to the above. Heavy excavation machinery is used to dig up the affected area; this may be combined with spraying for optimum results.

Learn more about our Japanese knotweed treatment plans

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Buying a house

Buying a house is a stressful experience at the best of times, but discovering that your new home (or a neighbouring property) is affected by Japanese knotweed can turn your move into a complete nightmare.

But don't panic! Japanese knotweed is certainly a setback, but you don't necessarily have to wave goodbye to your dream home just yet. Here's some expert advice from the Japanese knotweed specialists here at Taylor Total Weed Control...

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The TA6 form's Japanese knotweed question was revised in February 2020. Now, when selling a property, you can only answer 'no' if you are certain there is no Japanese knotweed within 3 metres of the property boundary.

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the recent TA6 form change and what it means for buyers and sellers.

Filling out a form

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 Goat with grass in its mouth

As many British homeowners are sadly aware, Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species that's strong enough to grow through concrete and cause significant damage to buildings and roads.

For this reason, the presence of Japanese knotweed can reduce a property's value by as much as 20% - it's notoriously difficult to sell a house with Japanese knotweed, and getting rid of it often takes multiple applications of herbicide over a number of months.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were a species of animal willing to eat our Japanese knotweed problems away?

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