Horror of Huddersfield pensioner’s five-year Japanese knotweed invasion

June 3, 2015 | 11:03 am

A pensioner in Huddersfield is facing a fifth year without enjoying her garden after it was taken over by Japanese knotweed.

The dreaded invading plant took root after spreading from Kirklees Council-owned fields at the back of Mary Jameson’s house in Sheepridge five years ago.

And Mary has been told that it may take two more years to clear the Japanese knotweed which has taken over her lawn.

At first her family tried to cut the plant back, but stopped after being warned this could accelerate its growth.

Kirklees Council sprayed the plant last summer, and said they will need to spray it for years before being able to remove it.

Mary, 64, said: “It’s in the same state as it was a year ago. The council has sprayed it once, before August, but that hasn’t done anything or had any effect, and they said it could take three years.

“They will have to keep coming and spraying it, and they said not to cut it, as the more you cut it the more it grows.

“In the summer when it grows fully it is very bad. It’s like having loads and loads of trees all over the garden.”

Fallopia japonica – aka Japanese knotweed – is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world’s worst invasive species.

The species, which originated in Japan, Korea and China, has thrived in Europe and North America.

Under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it is illegal to ‘plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild’ Japanese knotweed.

Because of its complex roots and fertility, control and destruction of Japanese knotweed is expensive, complicated and can take years.

Kirklees Council has said it aware of the situation and has begun the necessary action to treat the infestation.

“Japanese knotweed is an invasive species that needs proper controls to prevent it from spreading.

“Each infestation is dealt with individually and can involve a number of treatments in a growing season and subsequent checks in the following years before an outbreak is brought under control.”