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.
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.
The second most costly invasive species in Britain
The goal of Dr Cuthbert's research was to measure the economic impact of invasive species such as Japanese knotweed. The study found that, since 1975, invasive species have knocked at least £5.4 billion off the UK economy.
And the true figure is probably a fair bit higher even than that. The researchers acknowledged that £5.4 billion "is likely to be a significant underestimate due to information gaps on the economic impact of dozens of species".
This research project took a number of invasive species into account, and Japanese knotweed (£41 million annually) was second only to the European rabbit (£165 million annually) in terms of how much it costs the country each year.
What happens to all that money?
According to Dr Cuthbert, Japanese knotweed's enormous economic impact is mostly down to "house devaluation from when you have knotweed on the property, and also the cost of removing an infestation".
The good news is that Japanese knotweed won't necessarily wipe thousands of pounds of the value of your home - but if you have discovered this plant on your property, it's important to take action ASAP. The longer you leave the plant to grow, the more likely it is to become a significant problem, and the greater the risk that it will cause structural damage by growing through a gap in concrete or brickwork.
Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we offer a professional Japanese knotweed removal service that's both effective and reasonably priced. We are registered with the Property Care Assocation (PCA), and our experienced invasive weed specialists have already removed this plant from countless properties in South Wales and the South West.
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SEE ALSO: How Much Does It Cost to Remove Japanese Knotweed?