Few plants inspire as much dread as Japanese knotweed. This invasive species can make it difficult to sell your house, and even if you get rid of it, there's a chance the plant will grow back again if there's so much as a single fragment still in the soil.
Another oft-cited reason to fear Japanese knotweed is the damage it can cause as it grows in search of moisture and nourishment. Some descriptions would have you believe that Japanese knotweed is a rampaging triffid-esque plant monster, capable of demolishing any structure that gets in its way.
Well, you can rest assured that Japanese knotweed won't be knocking over any buildings in the near future. What it can do is exploit existing weaknesses in a structure - for instance, we often see Japanese knotweed growing through cracks in brick walls and concrete paving.
Japanese knotweed photo by Gordon Joly (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
So just how worried should you be if you have Japanese knotweed growing in your garden? Let's take a closer look at the damage this plant can do.
How does Japanese knotweed cause damage?
Japanese knotweed grows very quickly, and it's very good at growing through small gaps and cracks to expand its search for water and nutrients.
Once Japanese knotweed has wormed its way into a gap, it can exert pressure as it continues to grow. This may make the gap wider, potentially causing structural issues further down the line.
Here are some examples of the damage Japanese knotweed has been known to cause:
- Growing through cracks in walls, fences, roads, driveways, pavements, patios, etc.
- Clogging pipes and blocking drains
- Disrupting cables if growing nearby
- Growing within cavity walls, potentially pushing them apart from inside
That said, Japanese knotweed isn't Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. It's not harmful to humans (in fact, it's safe to eat!) and it won't push through a solid wall on its own - it can only exploit a structure's existing weaknesses.
One study even suggested that Japanese knotweed is "no more of a risk to solidly-built homes and buildings than many plants and less so than many woody species, particularly some large trees".
Get your Japanese knotweed under control
Regardless of how much structural damage Japanese knotweed is or isn't capable of causing, it's important to act quickly if you discover it on your property. It's not a crime to have Japanese knotweed in your garden, but you may be prosecuted if you allow it to spread.
Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we offer a comprehensive Japanese knotweed removal service that comes with an insurance-backed guarantee. Our weed control experts have been dealing with Japanese knotweed for many years, so you can be confident that we will deal with this invasive species thoroughly and efficiently.
Contact us to request a FREE Japanese knotweed survey