The rise of Japanese knotweed
Brought to the UK in the 19th century by Victorian engineers looking for a cost-effective way to hide railway embankments, Japanese knotweed has slowly become a real problem for home-owners. Known for being able to grow on volcanoes in its native country, it is now renowned across the country for the damage it can cause.
What’s the problem with it?
According to reports, the presence of Japanese knotweed can cut as much as 20% off the value of a property and can even be a reason for a lender to choose not to approve a loan. Able to grow at 10cm a day during the summer months, it cracks tarmac, blocks drains and undermines foundations when it gets too close to the home.
How do I know if I have a problem?
Recognising it isn’t always that easy, without knowing what to look for. It is a green plant with heart-shaped leaves but the dense nature of up with tall, bamboo-like stems gives it away. From August to October, keep your eye out for tiny creamy white flowers in the garden because this is an indicator, and the hollow stems of the plant are easily snapped.
Can I get rid of Japanese knotweed myself?
No, is the easy answer. Stephen Hodgson from the Property Care Association says:
Digging it out of the ground can just spread it terribly. If you’ve got it in your garden, either leave it alone, or treat it properly.
The roots spread quickly underground and can easily regenerate so you need professionals to inject it with a weed killer called glyphosate. But, the cost for this does start from £2,500.
Is Japanese knotweed close to my home?
An app commissioned by the Environment Agency came out five years ago, pinpointing 6,000 locations and has since been download by 20,000 people. From the image below we can see that it is quite prevalent in Leeds and Sheffield.
Take a look at the full map here.
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