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.
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