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Spraying plants with herbicide

SHORT ANSWER: Most commercially-available herbicides are ineffective when used on Japanese knotweed. Appropriate herbicides are required to get this invasive plant properly under control.

Japanese knotweed can be dealt with in several different ways, but treating the plant with herbicide is the most-used method. Herbicide application is less disruptive than excavation (which involves digging the plant up and either disposing of it at an approved landfill site or burying it in a geotextile membrane), and it's far more cost-effective as well. In general, we only recommend excavation when time is limited, e.g. when Japanese knotweed needs to be cleared ASAP so that a property sale can be finalised or so that building work can go ahead. Many sites are not suitable for excavation at all.


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.


Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Finding Japanese knotweed on your property can be alarming, especially if you've read those scary news articles about how much damage this invasive plant can cause and the amount it can knock off the value of your home.


When it comes to identifying Japanese knotweed, it really is important that you get it right! Being able to spot Japanese knotweed and seek help as soon as possible, can help prevent further problems and complications further down the line. While someone with a trained eye might be able to spot Japanese knotweed with no problems, identifying Japanese knotweed is not so easy for everyone.

One reason that Japanese knotweed is hard to identify, is because there are so many plants that look like it! Today we're going to take a look at one of the plants that's commonly mistaken for Japanese knotweed... Bindweed. So, if you want to know what the difference between bindweed and Japanese knotweed is, just keep reading.


What does bindweed look like?

Much like Japanese knotweed, bindweed has large, heart-shaped leaves - which is the main reason why these two plants often get mixed up. Bindweed (shown above) has a tendency to climb and has strong stems. One of the most notable features of bindweed is its large white trumpet flowers, which we're sure you've seen before in hedgerows or even in your own garden.


Japanese knotweed community protection notice

If local councils or police are made aware of someone who's "acting unreasonably and persistently or continually acting in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality" they can issue a community protection notice. These notices can be issued for a range of reasons including, noise nuisance, rubbish tipping and antisocial behaviour, however, they can also be issued for problems relating to invasive species like Japanese knotweed.


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