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Identify Knotweed

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is an invasive plant that has become a major problem throughout the UK. Due to favourable growing conditions, it thrives in areas like South Wales and South West England, and it can be found in an ever-increasing variety of locations nationwide. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to plant or encourage the growth of Japanese knotweed or to allow it to spread.

It’s not clear how or why this species was introduced to Britain, although theories and myths abound. Some claim that it was used as a decorative plant during the Victorian era; others say that it was brought here for use as animal fodder. We’ve even heard it said that it provided support for levees, canals and railway embankments, with the root system used to anchor the soil.

One of Japanese knotweed’s defining characteristics is how quickly it spreads. During the summer, when the plant is at its most aggressive, it can grow by several centimetres per day! It also has a tendency to form a thick, leafy canopy that prevents other plants from developing.

Though not toxic to humans and animals, the plant does not provide a viable habitat for native birds, insects or mammals. It is strong enough to grow through cracks in walls, tarmac, and concrete slabs – it has even been found in cavity walls and drains.

A Japanese knotweed infestation can have a significant impact on the value of your property. Mortgage lenders are well aware of the plant’s reputation, so the process of buying or selling a house often becomes more complicated if the property in question is (or was) affected by Japanese knotweed. It can also be quite difficult to obtain planning permission for knotweed-contaminated properties.
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Japanese Knotweed Roots

Like many other weeds, Japanese knotweed has a highly durable rhizome root system. Burrowing as far as 2 metres down into the ground and reaching up to 4 metres in length, this extensive root system is the main reason why Japanese knotweed can be so difficult to remove.

If not managed properly, cutting the plant or disturbing the soil around it may actually end up encouraging the weed to grow. A tiny fragment of the root can quickly establish a new plant stem, and so Japanese knotweed can easily be spread when these rhizomes are transported to other sites. To make things even more difficult, a 3cm piece of rhizome can remain dormant in the soil for several years before it actually appears.

This is why it is so important to take a professional, scientific approach when attempting to remove Fallopia japonica from your property. All too often, well-intentioned but misinformed attempts to eradicate the invasive weed end up helping it to spread further.
Japanese Knotweed Control
Identify Knotweed

Identifying Japanese Knotweed

Identifying Japanese knotweed can be a difficult task. The plant’s growing cycle means that its appearance can vary significantly depending on the season. During its dormant winter stage, for instance, the weed is almost impossible to identify.

However, we provide a discreet, specialist service that makes Japanese knotweed identification extremely simple – contact us today to arrange a free survey.

See Also:

Japanese Knotweed Gallery

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