As many British homeowners are sadly aware, Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species that's strong enough to grow through concrete and cause significant damage to buildings and roads.
For this reason, the presence of Japanese knotweed can reduce a property's value by as much as 20% - it's notoriously difficult to sell a house with Japanese knotweed, and getting rid of it often takes multiple applications of herbicide over a number of months.
Wouldn't it be nice if there were a species of animal willing to eat our Japanese knotweed problems away?
Animals that can eat Japanese knotweed
According to the Deerfield River Watershed Association in the USA, "Japanese knotweed can be safely eaten by sheep, cattle, horses, and goats".
Grazing alone won't be enough to eliminate Japanese knotweed from an area, but it may limit the plant's ability to spread.
This BBC article from 2010 points out that Japanese knotweed isn't really a problem in its native country - while common, the plant "doesn't rage out of control like it does in the UK, thanks to natural predators that keep it in check".
In Japan, knotweed has many natural predators in the form of nearly 200 insect species and a variety of fungi. Certain psyllids (plant lice) have proven to have an appetite for Japanese knotweed sap - the organisers of the Chelsea Flower Show have looked at using psyllids to keep Japanese knotweed at bay, and one species (Aphalara itadori) has even been released into the wild in an effort to combat the UK's knotweed problem.
Can humans eat Japanese knotweed?
Yes we can! Japanese knotweed is safe for humans to consume as long as it hasn't been treated with potentially harmful herbicides. It's a good source of vitamin A, and it supposedly tastes similar to rhubarb.
More Facts About Japanese Knotweed
British horticulturist Alys Fowler said in 2018 that we should "eat Japanese knotweed into submission". That said, you'd have to eat an awful lot of Japanese knotweed to completely eradicate the plant from your property!
So we recommend a more methodical approach. If you have Japanese knotweed on your property - or if you've noticed it in your neighbour's garden and you're worried it might spread to yours - Taylor Total Weed Control can help.
We can visit your property and carry out a FREE Japanese knotweed survey to confirm whether or not you have a knotweed infestation. If you do, we can treat your Japanese knotweed with specialist herbicides to get it under control.
Request a FREE Japanese Knotweed Survey
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