china

Today we take a look at a type of knotweed found not too far from its troublesome cousin Japanese knotweed - Chinese knotweed (Reynoutria multiflora). 

This plant is a flowering species that actually belongs to the buckwheat family! Found predominantly in (you guessed it) mainland China, it looks deceptively like Japanese knotweed in more ways than one. It features:

  • Tall woody stems that could be mistaken for bamboo
  • Broad arrowhead leaves
  • Greenish-white flowers that grow on dense panicles

Sounds a lot like Japanese knotweed right? Well, one thing that this plant produces that we don't see in Japanese knotweed is a fruit. The fruits of the Chinese knotweed plant are small, dry one-seeded fruits that do not open, also known as achenes.

In one of our blogs, we explored the benefits of Japanese knotweed, and it turns out Chinese knotweed has lots of medicinal uses too! In fact, reynoutria multiflora is a very popular perennial used in traditional Chinese medicines. 

The Chinese refer to the plant as he shou wu or fo-ti, and unlike Japanese knotweed in this country which is seen as an unwanted, invasive species, they cultivate it for ornamental purposes and for use in medicines. This type of knotweed grows in abundance, and here's why..

dried chinese knotweed

Medicinal Uses

This wonderful weed is said to restore virility and vitality in those who consume it, working on the reproductive, circulatory and urinary systems as well as the liver. 

The roots and stems boast a wide range of properties that make this weed a one-stop medicine shop! When ingested, they can work as a sedative, a laxative an anti cholesterolemic or as a treatment for menstrual or menopausal problems (to name but a few of its many uses). 

It's even been reported that people who take the rhizomes for a long period of time experiencing a darkening in their hair!

Besides the wide range of internal uses, Chinese knotweed can also be applied externally to treat conditions like ringworm, and its antibacterial properties mean it can even be used to clean open wounds and sores. You can read more about the medicinal uses of Chinese knotweed here.

So it's fair to say that Chinese knotweed is somewhat more respected and cherished in the community that its Japanese cousin! With that in mind, if you do happen to see Japanese knotweed encroaching on your property, request a free survey and we'll help you get it under control.

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excavated soil

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species that's notoriously hard to control and treat. There are lots of different methods you can use to stop the spread of knotweed, but homeowners and gardeners are always on the lookout for new, effective methods to try.

One of the main hurdles faced when treating Japanese knotweed is making sure that the plant visible above ground and the roots and shoots underground are completely destroyed. After all, this is the only way you can prevent the knotweed problem from coming back in the future. A lot of the time, knotweed technicians remove excavated land knowing full well that remanence of the invasive weed could cause a problem later down the line, but there are very few ways of effectively killing the entire plant.

Researchers are trailing a soil treatment that uses high temperatures to eradicate the plant roots before the excavated soil is taken away from the site. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, plants require optimal temperature conditions if they’re going to thrive. Put them in an environment that’s too cold or too hot and they won’t be able to grow or develop at their usual rate.

Testing the effectiveness of heat on knotweed

The study carried out by two researchers; Van Gelder Aannemingsmaatschappij and Van den Herik Zuigtechniek involved soil from six known knotweed infestations being strained and treated using revolutionary mobile heating apparatus.

After the soil was heated, the researchers studied it for seven weeks to monitor whether any knotweed would grow from it or not. The results showed that straining and heating the soil reduced the number of vital fragments by an impressive 99%!

This is a soil treatment that is not yet being used in mainstream knotweed treatment but could really help to reduce the spread of knotweed from excavated soil in the future. Researchers indicated that this method would need to be combined with a suitable aftercare plan to make sure that no surviving shoots would cause problems later down the line – something that would need to be considered carefully before technicians tried this method.

If you have a Japanese knotweed problem that needs treating – take a look at the different treatment methods we offer. Alongside excavation and removal programs we also offer herbicide application programs to rid your property of this invasive weed for good!

Bohemian Knotweed

Image: The Property Care Association (PCA)

 

A warning has been recently issued regarding a destructive ‘hybrid’ plant, known as Bohemian knotweed produced as a result of cross-fertilisation between Japanese knotweed and Giant knotweed.

The Property Care Association (PCA) says reports of the hybrid plants are on the rise. Also known as Hybrid knotweed, the plant could become a real concern if it gains a foothold nationally.

Dr Peter Fitzimons, group technical manager of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group stated: “Bohemian knotweed, although less common, has been around for almost as long as the better-known Japanese knotweed, but is not always recognised.”

“As a result, it has remained largely below the radar, but the reason for concern is that these hybrid plants can be even more vigorous than the parent plants.”

“We also need to be alert as, in other parts of the world where Hybrid knotweed is more common, they are seeing signs of fertile seed production, known as backcrossing.”

“If so, this could be a major concern for the future as the existence of seed-producing hybrid knotweeds may enable these plants to spread even more rapidly.”

Listed under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, Japanese, Giant and Hybrid knotweed are all deemed as invasive and potentially destructive plants. They are steadily becoming more of a nuisance to home and business owners up and down the country because of their ability to spread quickly via their rhizome network.

Fitzsimons added that “since the PCA formed the Invasive Weed Control Group in 2012, we’ve always maintained the position that whilst this plant is disruptive around buildings it can be brought under control using established techniques and processes.”

“However, its presence can impact on the ability to gain a mortgage and on the development cost of land. More research is needed to see what the impact is of Bohemian knotweed, but for now, we should be aware of the issue.”

If you have spotted Bohemian, Giant or Japanese knotweed near your home, and like many homeowners in the UK are worried about the potential impact these invasive plants can have on your property. Then please do not risk it and get in touch with us here at Taylor Total Weed Control.

We provide professional, effective weed control services that ensure knotweed is completely eradicated. You can find our range of knotweed treatment plans below.

Knotweed Treatment Plans >

 

For more information on Bohemian knotweed, invasive plants or our treatment plans, then please do not hesitate to contact us today!

Recently, the Property Care Association (PCA) reviewed the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulations to assess whether there were additional species that should be controlled under legislation. The outcome of this review? 13 new species of plant were added to the list of 'Species of Concern'. Of these plants, there are 2 which are considered most likely to threaten homes in the UK, these are; the balloon vine, and the tree of heaven. Let's take a look at these invasive species so that you can detect and eradicate them quickly!

Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum)

Belonging to the soapberry family, Balloon vine is a climbing plant that can survive in tropical and sub-tropical conditions and is found all over the world. Like Japanese knotweed, this invasive species is capable of invading a garden area quickly, using its tendrils to climb and cling onto walls and surfaces.

The sweet heart-shaped domes of this plant meant that it was often cultivated as an ornamental plant. However, due to its invasive nature, it quickly established itself elsewhere. Balloon vine is already classified as a harmful weed in Australia and South Africa, and while there are no records of it appearing in the UK yet, it is highly possible that it will appear here in the coming years. Why? Because the balloon vine favours dry climates and soils and global warming is creating these ideal living conditions in pastures new! 

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus Altissima)

Found in mild conditions, the tree of heaven is a rapidly growing tree species that can reach heights of 49ft (15m) in as little as 15 years! The Tree of Heaven is native in China and Taiwan and has historically been used in herbal remedies and medicines. In the 1740s, the tree of heaven was brought to Europe where gardeners quickly learned to recognise it for its rapidly invasive nature and foul smell!

Like Japanese knotweed, this plant is capable of resprouting quickly when it's cut or damaged, this makes removing it completely incredibly difficult and time-consuming.

Currently, the tree of heaven has been contained to South-East England, but could easily spread across the whole of the country if it's not controlled properly. This devilish plant has earnt itself the ironic nickname "tree of hell".

Taking Action Against These Invasive Species

There is an urgent need for coordinated EU efforts to prevent invasive species like the ones outlined above from spreading rapidly. Once an invasive species establishes itself in a country, it can easily move into bordering countries and beyond. One of the main targets of the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy is to improve the identification, prioritisation, control and eradication of invasive species before they have chance to establish in new countries (which explains the review and update of the Species of Concern list).

The Invasive Alien Species Order 2019 led to EU legislation being integrated into UK law on the 1st December 2019. This means we are legally required to help prevent, detect, eradicate and manage the species outlined in the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulations. You can see a full list of species here.

Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we identify & control a range of invasive species including the infamous Japanese knotweed. If you suspect an invasive species has made its way into your garden, don't hesitate to get in touch for a FREE weed removal consultation.

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