Nowadays, everything we do begs the question - what impact will this have on climate change? Whether it's choosing a toothbrush or fueling your car - if it's bad for the environment, we're told to avoid it at all costs.
Today, we take a closer look at Japanese knotweed to find out what impact it is having on the climate, and whether there's anything that can be done to minimise its effects.
We already know that Japanese knotweed causes huge problems for homeowners. As one of the most invasive species in the world, Japanese knotweed will stop at nothing to grow and flourish. It takes advantage of structural weaknesses and damages property at an astounding rate. But the problems it causes go way beyond physical damage.
How does Japanese knotweed impact the environment
When looking at the impact that Japanese knotweed has on the environment, the first problem that springs to mind is the damage it causes to native ecosystems. Studies show that exotic plant species like Japanese knotweed, now account for over 33% of the flora found in the British Isles! The rapidly invasive nature of this plant poses a huge threat to plant species that are already struggling to cope with the effects of global warming.
In a paper that was published by plant ecologist Nishanth Tharayil and graduate Mioko Tamura in New Phytologist, 2014, the link between the damaging impact of invasive species and the ecosystem is studied in great detail. They found that invasive species could encourage the release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere to occur at a faster rate!
So as well as threatening the lovely plants we have here in the UK, Japanese knotweed is also contributing to our carbon emissions.
Disposal of Japanese knotweed
One of the most common methods of removal for Japanese knotweed is excavation. This is where the plan, its roots rhizomes are dug up out of the ground and taken away to specialist landfill sites. While this is a very effective way to deal with a Japanese knotweed problem, it's not the most eco-friendly. As the Japanese knotweed rots, it releases its carbon contents back into the atmosphere and contributes to the release of methane and carbon dioxide (both of which are notoriously bad for the environment!)
New research has shown that the plant material left over from a Japanese knotweed excavation can be turned into a material called biochar. This biochar is heated in the absence of oxygen to create a substance that resembles honeycomb. Once created, the biochar can be enhanced with various fertilisers and minerals making it an ideal additive to soils that are lacking nutrients.
Getting rid of Japanese knotweed
It's clear that getting rid of Japanese knotweed so that it can't threaten other plant species is very important for the ecosystem we live in. Opting for a removal & disposal method that's eco-friendly can also help too!
If you've got a Japanese knotweed problem on your property, don't hesitate to contact us. We can provide a free survey of the affected area and advise you on the best treatment option right away.