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Japanese knotweed

Outside of fictional works like The Day of the Triffids and Little Shop of Horrors, very few plants inspire as much dread as Japanese knotweed. This invasive weed has caused countless headaches for homeowners all over the UK, devaluing affected properties by 10 per cent on average.

And yet, as we've discussed before on this blog, Japanese knotweed is barely a problem at all in its native land. While the plant is still considered a weed in Japan, it does not have anything like the toxic reputation it has in this part of the world.

 

So why is Japanese knotweed a problem in the UK?

Have you ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where the family visit Australia? When they arrive, Bart unwittingly releases an American bullfrog into the wild; at the end of the episode, we see that the frog has reproduced uncontrollably and its offspring are now wreaking havoc on the country's crops. (Lisa: "Well, that's what happens when you introduce foreign species into an ecosystem that can't handle them.")

This is more or less exactly how Japanese knotweed became such a big problem in the UK and other Western countries. In Japan, the plant is kept in check by natural predators and competing plant species, but when knotweed was introduced to Britain in the 19th century, it was able to grow far and wide because the local habitat was not equipped to stop it.

READ MORE: How did Japanese knotweed make it to Europe?

 

Problems caused by Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed grows very quickly, and few things will stop the plant in its tracks - it's even capable of clogging up drains and pushing through small cracks in walls.

This can lead to a number of problems:

  • Japanese knotweed sometimes causes structural damage as it grows.

  • Lenders tend to be very reluctant to offer mortgages on knotweed-infested properties, so you may find it difficult to sell your home if there's Japanese knotweed in your garden.

  • If you allow Japanese knotweed to spread into the wild - even by accident - you may be prosecuted (see Japanese Knotweed Law in the UK).

For these and a number of other reasons, it's important to take action ASAP if you suspect there may be Japanese knotweed on your land. Taylor Total Weed Control offer a PCA-approved Japanese knotweed removal service, so if you're having problems with this pesky plant, give us a call on 029 2039 7554 and we'll be happy to help you.

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Photo from Pixabay

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