Caerphilly Castle in South Wales

South Wales is one of the UK's worst-affected areas for Japanese knotweed growth.

That's according to an article published in YourMoney.com, which names South Wales alongside the likes of Bolton, Bristol and London.

These are apparently the places where this invasive species is at its most prolific.

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Which parts of South Wales have the most Japanese knotweed?

According to a Wales Online article originally published in July 2019, the locations in South Wales with most Japanese knotweed infestations were:

  • Llanelli
  • Caerphilly
  • Swansea

That said, it was Conwy - in North Wales - that topped the Wales Online list in 2019, with a jaw-dropping 395 cases within a radius of just 4 kilometres.

 

What should I do if I find Japanese knotweed on my property?

First of all, make sure it actually is Japanese knotweed. There are several similar-looking plants that may be mistaken for knotweed at a glance - visit our Japanese Knotweed Identification page for advice.

If you do have Japanese knotweed on your property, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND SEEKING EXPERT ADVICE instead of attempting to get rid of it on your own. Japanese knotweed has a 'rhizome' root system, and a tiny fragment of one root can turn into a whole new plant. (This should give you a pretty good idea how the plant became such a widespread problem in this country.)

Read More: How Do You Get Rid of Japanese Knotweed?

If you are worried about Japanese knotweed, please feel free to get in touch with Taylor Total Weed Control and request a FREE knotweed survey.

Photo from Pixabay

Japanese knotweed plant

Japanese knotweed is known for causing havoc in gardens across England and Wales. This aggressive invasive species spreads fast and can cause structural damage to homes and buildings. Its presence may even decrease the value of your home or discourage mortgage companies from lending to you, so it is vital that you tackle the issue properly.

 

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a strong and fast-spreading perennial plant. While not native to the UK, it can be found in numerous locations throughout the country. It spreads quickly due to its aggressive rhizome root system - these rhizomes can grow up to 4 metres deep, meaning they require treatment and disposal by specialist teams to remove the plant.

Japanese knotweed can look very similar to other decorative plants, so be sure to read our Japanese knotweed identification guide and learn what to look out for in your garden.

 

Who is responsible for removing Japanese knotweed?

In England and Wales, it is a criminal offence to encourage the growth of Japanese knotweed or allow it to spread. Clearing the weeds as soon as possible is key if you don't want to damage to your property or run into legal trouble.

If Japanese knotweed is on your property, it is your responsibility to organise its removal. The plant can be cleared via excavation or through a herbicide treatment. It is strongly recommended that you arrange this with a professional, qualified specialist, as there are many regulations governing how to dispose of Japanese knotweed.

If there is Japanese knotweed in a neighbour's garden, you should discuss this with them if possible. It is not a crime to have Japanese knotweed on your property; however, if the knotweed spreads to your land, you may be able to take legal action against your neighbour for creating a nuisance.

In 2014, a law was introduced allowing local governments to penalise people for not taking adequate steps to eradicate Japanese knotweed. Talk to your local council's environmental team, who will have the authority to encourage your neighbour to address the problem if necessary.

Read More: What to Do If Your Neighbour Has Japanese Knotweed

 

I'm renting a property - is it my landlord's responsibility to get rid of Japanese knotweed?

Check your contract to see whether you are responsible for the removal of Japanese knotweed. Some landlords may put clauses into contracts that agree the tenant is responsible for removing invasive plant species. They may assist you with the task due to the aggressive nature of the plant and the potential damage their property.

Once you have figured out who needs to clear the weed, it is time to act. Taylor Total Weed Control's treatment options start from £750 (plus VAT), making tackling this problem easy and affordable compared to other weed removal specialists. Our team of technicians will be able to assess the extent of the damage and best advise you on how to address the issue with a free survey.

Call us today on 029 2039 7554 to arrange a free weed removal consultation, or get in touch for more help and advice on clearing Japanese knotweed.

Request a Free Japanese Knotweed Survey >

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that can cause some serious damage to your garden and property if it goes undetected!to make sure that you don't have a Japanese knotweed problem, you should check your garden regularly. Japanese knotweed starts to make its presence known during the spring months, so this is a particularly important time for you to survey your garden.

We have a whole page that will help you Identify Japanese Knotweed in your garden, but if you suspect you have Japanese knotweed, here are a few things to look out for! 

Spotting Knotweed in the Garden

When knotweed emerges in the spring, it looks like reddish-purple shoots (the thickness of asparagus). Often, as the stems develop they begin to take on a more dense, hollow appearance like bamboo. As you look along the length of the zig-zag stem you will see the iconic love-heart shaped leaves. During the warmer periods you might even see some pretty little white flowers, but don't be fooled! they're not a pretty garden feature to be enjoyed! You can see close up images of all these knotweed features over on our identification page.

There are a handful of plants that are often mistaken for Japanese knotweed, so this is worth bearing in mind too as you determine whether or not you have Japanese knotweed. 

  • Bindweed
  • Russian Vine
  • Bamboo
  • Broadleaf Dock

are all knotweed impersonators, so keep your eyes peeled for these as you survey your garden.

Spotting Knotweed Damage

Knotweed is a quick-growing plant and can grow up to 10cm in a single day! It's capable of causing damage to buildings and structures as it targets weak points and forces its way into foundations and up drainpipes. Within a matter of weeks, it can ravage a garden, rip its way through a brick wall or destroy a wooden fence. It usually has a vast network of underground rhizomes that shoot off smaller plants all over your garden, so if you suspect you have knotweed, it's likely it will pop up in more places than one!

What to do if you think you have knotweed?

So, if you think you've spotted this ravenous Japanese plant in your garden, don't hesitate to give us a call! We specialise in identifying, treating and eradicating Japanese knotweed. 

If you think that a neighbour has Japanese knotweed that might encroach on your property and cause damage, then we can also aid you through your legal case. We offer a professional expert witness service that will help protect you and your home in the worst-case scenario. 

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knotweed sniffer dog

We all know that dogs are capable of some remarkable things, they can lead the blind, aid police officers and provide therapy for sick patients. Well, the talents of the canine don't stop there! Did you know they can also detect Japanese knotweed?

A Start-Up Company in Ireland

Helga Heylen founded her start-up company back in 2018 and has been training dogs to detect Japanese knotweed with incredible accuracy. Heylen claims that one of her sniffer dogs is able to detect the Japanese knotweed rhizomes even if they haven't broken the surface of the soil yet!

Using their powerful noses, the dogs are able to identify the exact location of a developing knotweed problem. Heylen currently has three knotweed detecting dogs working for her, one is a purebred labrador and the others are labrador-beagle crosses. 

These amazing sniffer dogs can really transform the way that Japanese knotweed is detected and treated. Rhizomes as small as a fingernail can be laid dormant under the soil for a number of years before developing into a fully-fledged knotweed nightmare! If dogs can help commercial property developers, home and business owners to quickly find and treat the problem, it could prevent a huge amount of structural damage later down the line. 

How Do These Dogs Work?

Unlike humans, dogs don't need to be able to see the knotweed to know it's there! They have a keen sense of smell that can identify rhizomes several metres under the ground. They can quickly move through over-grown terrain and don't need bright lights to work. This means they can quickly survey abandoned areas of land that humans simply couldn't access on foot. 

Doggy Danger

While these dogs might sound like miracle workers to those of you with a knotweed problem, there are some people who do not feel so positively about them. While working in Belgium, one of Heylen's dogs was given poisoned food after it detected knotweed at the site of an upcoming commercial development. The discovery of the knotweed by the talented pooch delayed the development project, which was a source of frustration for investors. 

Since then, security for the dogs has been tightened to make sure nothing like this happens again. They sleep under security cameras and are kept indoors near to the handlers. Hopefully, they can continue to carry out their work unharmed from now on! Heylen said: "You know it's a good thing when it excites like-minded people, which is certainly the majority and really scares others".

If you think you could have a Japanese knotweed problem on your hands, we can't provide sniffer dogs, but we can provide a FREE expert survey and Japanese knotweed treatment plan.

 Request a FREE Survey >

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Do You Need a License to Remove Japanese Knotweed?

If you have spotted Japanese knotweed on or near your property and are wondering if you need a licence to remove it – in short, no you don’t,

The legal standing surrounding Japanese knotweed across the UK varies. In England and Wales, the primary legislation relating to knotweed is ‘Section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981’. In Scotland, this is still the predominant piece of legislation but in effect has been superseded by the changes which came into force with the ‘Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2012’. The law surrounding the management and control of knotweed across the UK, however, is practically the same.

Japanese knotweed is categorised as an invasive species, and it is the responsibility of the owner of the land where it appears to prevent it from spreading into neighbouring properties or into the wild. The removal of Japanese knotweed must also be performed with extreme due care and attention due to the sensitivity regarding its ability to spread. Currently, there is no legal obligation to remove or treat knotweed, just as long as you’re not encouraging or allow it to grow.

Guidelines set out by the government state that anyone wanting to use chemicals to treat an infestation of knotweed must do the some or all of the following:

  • Make sure anyone spraying holds a certificate of competence for herbicide use or works under the direct supervision of a certificate holder
  • Carry out a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health assessment
  • Get permission from Natural England if the area is protected, for example, sites of special scientific interest
  • Get permission from the Environment Agency if the plants are near water

The use of pesticides and chemicals in treating Japanese knotweed is governed by ‘The Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986’ and required any person who uses a pesticide to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of human beings, creatures and plants. Once knotweed has been treated with chemicals, it will have to be disposed of in the correct way. Off-site disposals fall under the ‘Environmental Protection Act 1990’, which states disposing of Japanese knotweed must be conducted by a licensed waste carrier as stated in ‘Waste Regulations 2011’ and disposed of within a licensed facility. Relevant transfer notes must be completed and stored. If knotweed has not been treated before off-side disposal and simply removed, then it is not classed as hazardous waste. If certain pesticides have been used, however, then the waste moves into the hazardous category requiring a consignment note as set out in the ‘Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005’.

In 2013, the UK government stated that any person that fails to control Japanese knotweed along with other invasive weed could receive an anti-social behaviour order. On-the-spot fines of £100 can also be issued, potentially rising to £2500 if prosecuted. Companies also face fines of up to £20,000 if prosecuted

Professional Knotweed Removal

It is highly recommended that, if you have Japanese knotweed on or near your property, you use experienced professionals that know what they’re doing. If not, you risk allowing the knotweed’s rhizomes spreading even further, causing not only potential increases in damage later on in time but prosecution for facilitating the spread of knotweed. So, to avoid any of these issues, be sure to get in touch with the team here at Taylor Total Weed Control! Our Japanese knotweed specialist can identify and confirm the presence of knotweed on your property and devise a relevant plan of removal to ensure it is properly eradicated. You can learn more about our knotweed removal services below.

Japanese Knotweed Removal >

If you have any questions regarding our Japanese knotweed treatment or removal, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today!

Japanese Knotweed History

Japanese knotweed is one of, if not the most invasive plant in Britain. As its name suggests, the plant is native to Japan, where it is known as “itadori”. One interpretation of this name is ‘remove pain’ which alludes to the plant’s painkilling properties and use in various medicines to treat a variety of ailments ranging from cardiovascular diseases, fungal infections and skin inflammations. Knotweed’s young leaves and shoots, once peeled, are also edible and are consumed in various ways through the inclusion in various recipes. In the UK, however, Japanese knotweed is being used more frequently in food supplements as a result of its resveratrol content (also found in red wine).

In Japan, knotweed grows freely on mountainsides, volcanoes and open spaces, which is a little different compared to the UK. There, knotweed has natural predators that come in the form of invertebrates, fungi, ash deposits from volcanoes and an erratic climate. In Britain, however, there are no natural predators to limit the spread of knotweed. So, how did it even get here in the first? Let’s find out.

Introduction of Japanese knotweed to Britain

German physician, botanist, and traveller Phillip Franz von Siebold found Japanese knotweed growing on the side of a volcano and planned to use it as an ornamental plant that could be used in residential gardens. The discovery was widely celebrated and as such, was named the ‘most interesting new ornamental plant of the year’ by the Society of Agriculture and Horticulture at Utrecht in Holland. In 1954, Seibold sent a shipment of various plants including knotweed to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, which was then shared with the Gardens in Edinburgh. This is where the plant began to spread as is was then sold commercially by nurseries.

The main pattern of distribution of knotweed was through intended planting and distribution, although this was before its invasive and destructive capabilities were realised. Using watercourses and soil transported during construction and road-building, knotweed began to spread naturally throughout the UK. However, Ann Connelly, an expert in knotweed, stated evidence from the 1960s that showed the plant had been deliberately placed in Welsh coal-mining valley as it was good for stabilising loose soil.

It is only able to survive thanks to its deep root system, which is the main cause of the huge problems found within garden and properties all across the UK. With nothing to combat its spread, knotweed can grow unchallenged and to devastating effect. At its most aggressive, the plant can grow up to 20cm per day, breakthrough concrete or tarmac with ease and push its roots 3m deep into the ground. It also has the ability to overpower almost all other plants, totally swamping them and preventing them from getting any sunlight.

As a result of its destructive nature, it is now an offence under section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to “plant or otherwise cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild” and is now classed as “controlled waste" under part 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This requires disposal at licensed landfill sites. On March 9th 2010, the decision was taken to release into the wild a Japanese psyllid insect, Aphalara itadori. Its diet is highly specific to Japanese knotweed and shows good potential for its control. Controlled release trials began in South Wales in 2016.

Japanese knotweed removal

Due to knotweed’s ability to be easily spread, it requires specialised treatment and removal by trained, qualified professionals. Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we provide expert identification and removal services that ensure the Japanese knotweed on your property is in fact knotweed and is then properly eradicated. We offer a choice of two survey and treatment plans that you can choose based on the severity of your knotweed infestation, which you can browse below.

Our Japanese Knotweed Treatments >

 

For more information on our knotweed removal services, be sure to get in touch with a member of our team today. We’ll be more than happy to help!

The Law Society has made changes to the explanatory notes accompanying the home seller’s property information form (TA6) regarding the presence of Japanese knotweed. 

 

The TA6 conveyancing form, which must be completed by all home sellers, asks if knotweed is present on the property. Unless the home seller is absolutely certain that there is no knotweed present, they mist now answer ‘Not Known’ instead of ‘No’. Knotweed removal experts have said that this change will bring a sharp increase in sellers answering ‘Not Known’ and will place an added onus on buyers to make their own enquiries into whether a property is affected.

 

The Guidance

Previous guidelines stated ““The seller should state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed.”

However, the form and guidance update which was released on Friday 7th February 2020, states ““The seller should state whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed. If you are unsure that Japanese knotweed exists above or below ground or whether it has previously been managed on the property, please indicate this as ‘Not known’. If No is chosen as an answer the seller must be certain that no rhizome (root) is present in the ground of the property, or within 3 metres of the property boundary even if there are no visible signs above ground.”

In simple terms, sellers who are not aware of knotweed on their property should still answer ‘No’ instead of ‘Not Known’, leaving it up to buyers to undertake their own knotweed enquiries if they so choose, by employing a professional knotweed survey. The changes should bring greater clarity to the legal process in misrepresentation cases where a seller has answered ‘No’ and knotweed is subsequently discovered. Where a ‘Not Known’ answer is provided, the responsibility is placed on the buyer to prove that the seller’s answer was false and that they were indeed aware that the property was affected.

 

Legal Advice & Surveys

Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we offer professional legal advice that can aid you through a knotweed case involving your neighbours, estate agents and surveyors around issues such as false reporting of the presence of Japanese knotweed on a property. If you require a professional survey to determine whether there is knotweed present on or around your property, then we can also provide expert services. Simply click below to learn more about our expert witness services or to request your FREE knotweed survey! You can also get in touch with a member of our team for any general enquiries you may have surrounding Japanese knotweed.

Knotweed Expert Witness >        FREE Knotweed Survey >

A Welsh council’s decision to continue using a weed killer that has been linked causing cancer has been described as a ‘kick in the teeth for residents’.

Image: South Wales Argus

 

Torfaen council has decided to continue their use of a glyphosate-based weed killer on the invasive Japanese knotweed in a meeting this week, whilst continuing to monitor alternatives that are being developed. A motion to halt the use of the product and one to limit its use to preventing Japanese knotweed were both rejected before councillors voted to continue to continue using the glyphosate-based product.

A protest was organised out the council chamber in Pontypool ahead of the meeting, with campaigners urging council members not to vote for its continued use. In addition, around 700 people have signed a petition titled ‘stop spraying our towns with probable cancer-causing glyphosate’, which was presented to the council last year.

Councillor Fiona Cross who is a cabinet member for the environment said that there could be a ‘detrimental effect’ on the appearance of the county borough as well as structural issues if they were to stop using the weed killer without having a suitable alternative in place.

She also pointed out that the authority uses a low concentration substance which is endorsed by both the Welsh Government and European Union. Council leader Anthony Hunt backed up the previous statements saying the council must take a pragmatic approach but added that if a ‘better alternative’ was to become available, then the council ‘should look to use that.’

Independent councillor David Thomas, on the other hand, stated that the council should not take ‘unnecessary risks’ by using the weed killer and called for it to be scrapped. Councillor Elizabeth Haynes put forward a motion for the authority to stop using the product but an amended version was voted down. A second motion was proposed by Conservative councillor Huw Bevan, which called for the council to continue using the weed killer but not in ‘high public footfall’ areas.

Cllr Bevan said he understood there is ‘no other effective treatment’ for the invasive weed, but called for the authority to further limit the product’s use elsewhere. This motion was also rejected.

Campaigner Terry Banfield said the decision is a “total kick in the teeth for residents.”

 

Professional Knotweed Removal

Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we provide professional knotweed removal services that eradicate the presence of Japanese knotweed from your premises. Depending on the severity of your infestation, we offer two types of treatment plans; herbicide application programmes or excavation and removal programmes – both of which are conducted in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way. Click below to learn more.

Our Knotweed Treatments >

 

For more information on our professional knotweed services, be sure to get in touch with a member of the Taylor Total Weed Control team today!

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!

British homeowners are being warned to not grow bamboo in their garden due to the potential dangers that the oriental plant can bring, with experts likening the effects of bamboo to the notorious Japanese knotweed.

Due to its screening capabilities and use within outdoor privacy measure, bamboo is an extremely popular choice for homeowners up and down the country, particularly within urban areas. However, its abilities to become highly invasive and out of control mean it can cause unpredictable and irreversible damage. Which, unfortunately, was the case for one homeowner in Reading.

The unnamed homeowner was forced to unearth her entire garden after bamboo grew to several metres in height and began to spread right across her garden towards her property, damaging her patio in the process.

Various forms of bamboo exist, namely ‘clumping’ and running’ that can have negative effects on surrounding areas. In this case, the ‘running’ bamboo found within the homeowner’s garden started to grow a large network of root and ‘rhizomes’, wreaking havoc on the property.

The rhizomes of bamboo are capable of spreading up to 30ft and if left untreated, can spread across and invade neighbouring property posing a huge threat to the foundations of homes.

Just like Japanese knotweed, bamboo has the ability to strangle plots of land as a result of its capability to damage property, breach brick, patios and cause cracks in concrete. It is known to thrive in a variety of soils, environments and temperatures with little to no maintenance. Experts have stated that if you do choose to house bamboo on your property to make sure you choose a clumping variety as opposed to the running types. It is also a good idea to ‘place it within a pot or bed which is lined with strong vertical root barrier designed to contain bamboo.’

A retired couple from Reading has said they were mis-sold their bamboo by a local nursery, stating they were promised it would not grow further than waist height and would not spread. However, the bamboo shot up and out damaging both the patio and approaching house.

Professional Removal Services

To ensure you’re not affected by the damaging effects of bamboo or Japanese knotweed, professional removal is required. If you have spotted bamboo or knotweed on or near your property and want to act fast before major damage can be caused, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Taylor Total Weed Control team. We have a number of treatment plans available for you to choose from.

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