Other Invasive Weed Solutions

Complete invasive weed solutions

Japanese Knotweed Specialists are one of the UK’s leading contractors and consultants in the control, treatment and removal of all Invasive Weeds.

We offer our services nationwide through local teams supported with our bespoke innovative field based software to deliver the very best service. Adam Brindle, who founded the company has focused on offering robust and reliable services whilst offering value for money through problem solving and innovation.

Below are just some of the invasive weeds, other than Japanese Knotweed, that we treat.

Buddleja Davidii
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Buddleia (Buddleja davidii) is found throughout Britain and is often be seen growing along roadside verges, railway lines and areas of urban wasteland. Buddleia was introduced to Britain from China during the late 19th century as a popular ornamental garden plant.  It is also known as Butterfly Bush due to the attraction of butterflies and insects to its brightly coloured flower heads.

Quick facts

Common name Buddleia
Botanical name Buddleja Davidii
Areas affected Gardens, waste land, development sites, walls, hard standings , railways and waterways.
Main causes Spreads quickly by seed and damages structures with its roots.
Timing Seen in spring and summer; treat in late summer

Legal Issues
There are no legal issues relating to Buddleia in the United Kingdom however in Scotland, under the Wildlife and natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 it is an offence to cause a non-native plant, such as buddleia, to spread.

Appearance

Buddleia can vary in size and can reach heights of between 1-5metres. The flower heads of mature Buddleia grow in elongated tapering clusters, usually violet or purple but can also be coloured mauve or white. Leaves are elongated and dark green in colour with a finely serrated edge. The flowers are rich in nectar and fragrance. In the height of summer Buddleia is often a haven for insects.

The problem

Buddleia produces a large number of seeds that are dispersed by the wind and can spread to a large area in a short space of time. The seeds are tough and can grow in a number of difficult to access areas such as chimneystacks or cracks in walls.

If the buddleia is growing on riverbanks it can cause major erosion as it spreads and dies off. Once buddleia begins to grow its root systems can weaken structures it grows in and can cause costly repair bills or even render properties unsafe/unstable/uninhabitable.

Control

Non-chemical control
Small infestations can be pulled out by hand or mechanically dug out. As with other invasive plants, care must be taken to remove the roots and seed bank or the plant could grow back.

Chemical control
The most effective way to treat buddleia is to drill and plug the stump with herbicide directly into the plant providing that the standards are met to protect the surrounding ecosystem.

Giant Hogweed
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Giant hogweed or Heracleum mantegazzianum is related to cow parsley and is originally from Southern Russia and Georgia. It can grow to over 3m in height and can Although this striking plant can be attractive in certain situations, most gardeners will want to eradicate it, as it is potentially invasive and the sap can cause severe skin burns. It is widely distributed in the wild and poses a serious risk to people who are unaware of its potential for harm.

Quick facts

Common name Giant Hogweed
Botanical name Heracleum Mantegazzianum
Areas affected Waste land, open land, development sites and gardens
Main causes Severe burns and blindness
Timing Seen spring to autumn; treat in summer

Legal Issues

  • Under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 / Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 it is an offence to introduce Giant Hogweed into the wild.  This includes transferring soil contaminated with hogweed material (such as seeds) from one location to another.
  • Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Duty of Care Regulations 1991, hogweed infested soil or plant material must be removed to a licensed landfill site for disposal accompanied by appropriate Waste Transfer documentation.

What is Giant Hogweed?

An impressive sight when fully grown, Giant Hogweed is invasive and potentially very harmful. Chemicals in the sap can cause Photo dermatitis or Photosensitivity. This is where the skin becomes very sensitive to sunlight and may suffer blistering, pigmentation and long-lasting scars. The weed is located in every part of the British Isles.

There is also a native hogweed, which can grow to six foot when in flower. It can cause rashes and other skin complaints but reactions tend not be as severe as with the larger species.

Appearance

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum Mantegazzianum), is a tall, cow parsley-like plant with thick bristly stems that are often purple-blotched.

The flowers are white and are flat-topped clusters, like those of cow parsley. The flower heads can be as large as 60cm and it can reach heights of 3.5m.

Giant Hogweed is usually biennial, forming a rosette of jagged, lobed leaves in the first year before sending up a flower spike in the second year and then setting seed.

What are the dangers?

This plant can cause severe skin burns and if sap comes into contact with eyes, has the potential to cause blindness

Coming into contact with the sap of Giant Hogweed, followed by exposure to sunlight, can produce painful, burning blisters, also known as photo-dermatitis. Hogweed stems contain a large amount of juice that squirts out when stems are broken or cut. Contact with the toxic sap usually happens when people cut down hogweed plants without taking precautions.

Children are attracted to the large, hollow stems for pretend swords or telescopes. Also, children may run through hogweed patches and brush up against broken stems. Both activities can cause children to be burned by hogweed sap.

Control and eradication of Giant Hogweed

Due to the longevity and quantity of the seeds, full eradication can take a number of years to achieve. To be effective all control measures should be undertaken each year before the plant produces seeds (early spring to early summer). This can take 3 to 10 years due to dormant seed banks.

Non-chemical controls
On a garden scale, appropriate measures include pulling up young plants by hand. This should be carried out in May when the Giant Hogweed has reached a reasonable height, but before it has produced its flowering spike.

Never let hogweed set seed. Allow the flower spike to form and then remove it before the flowers fade. Cutting of the plant is not an efficient long-term solution and is not recommended on any plant exceeding 1.5 metres in height due to the risk of direct contact.

On a larger scale mechanical excavation can be carried out but allowance for the seed bank must be taken into consideration.

Chemical Control
Where non-chemical control methods are not feasible, chemical treatments maybe used however Environment Agency consent will have to be sought prior to chemical application to plants on riverbanks.

Himalayna Balsam
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Himalayna-Balsam1

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is a relative of the Busy Lizzie and was introduced to the UK in 1839. The weed is often found on riverbanks and waste land but can also invade gardens. It grows rapidly to 2-3m tall and spreads quickly from its seeds, smothering other vegetation as it goes.

Quick facts

Common name: Himalayan Balsam, Indian Balsam, Jumping Jack, Policeman’s Helmet
Botanical name: Impatiens Glandulifera
Areas affected: River banks, brown field sites, waste sites, gardens and allotments and often land adjacent to infested riverbanks
Main causes: Fast-growing and annual spreading by seed. Shades out other vegetation
Timing: Seen Spring to Autumn and should be treated in early summer before it has the opportunity to seed

Legal Issues

There are no legal issues relating to Himalayan Balsam.

Appearance

Himalayan Balsam is a tall growing annual weed, 2-3m in height. Between June and October it produces purplish pink helmet-shaped flowers. The flowers are followed by seed pods that open explosively when touched.

The problem

One plant can produce up to 800 seeds each season. These are spread widely as the seedpods shoot their seeds up to 7m.

Control

Non-chemical control
The main method is pulling or cutting the plants before they flower and set seed. Digging operations will need to be carried out for at least two years as seeds can remain viable for several years.

Chemical control
Where non-chemical control methods are not feasible, chemical treatments maybe used however Environment Agency consent will have to be sought prior to chemical application to plants on riverbanks

Horsetail
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Horsetail or Equisetum Arvense, and often called Mare’s Tail, is an invasive and deep-rooted perennial weed that will spread quickly to form a dense carpet of foliage and damages hardstandings.

Quick facts

Common name: Horsetail, Mare’s Tail
Botanical name: Equisetum Arvense
Areas affected: Lawns, hard standings, waste land, open areas and gardens
Main causes: Spreads mainly via rhizomes or stem fragments and can push through tarmac
Timing: Seen in Spring and Summer; should be treated in late Summer

Legal Issues

There are no legal issues relating to Horsetail

Appearance

Horsetail is easily recognised by its vertical fir tree-like shoots that appear in Summer.

In Spring they appear as light brown stems, 20-50cm tall and in Summer, the green shoots develop into fir tree-like plants, 60cm tall.

The problem

It is common to see hard standings damaged by Horsetail growth.  This can occur when developers fail to identify and remove Horsetail during construction. This plant then reappears through newly laid driveways and footpaths causing costly damage.

Control

Non-chemical control
Eradication can be achieved via excavating the plant. This requires professional expertise to ensure that the entire rhizome is identified and removed. This is the preferred method for development sites to reduce the risk of subsequent hard standing damage post construction completion.

The use of root barriers can also be implemented to reduce spread.

Chemical control
Control can be achieved by professional application of suitable herbicides but the weed is hard to eradicate. The application of herbicides should be seen as a control measure and unlikely to achieve complete eradication.

Ragwort
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Ragwort (Senecio Jacobaea) is not usually a significant problem in gardens, but its poisonous qualities can make it a serious weed of paddocks and gardens backing onto fields grazed by horses or cattle.

Quick facts

Common name: Common Ragwort
Latin name: Senecio Jacobaea
Areas affected: Waysides, grazing land, farm land, and uncultivated ground
Main causes: Weed poisonous to cattle and horses
Timing: Seen from Spring to Autumn. Should be treated in late Spring or Autumn

Legal Issues

  • Common Ragwort is specified in The Weeds Act of 1959.
  • Under The Weeds Act, the Secretary of State may serve an enforcement notice on the occupier of land on which injurious weeds are growing, requiring the occupier to take action to prevent the spread of these weeds.  Responsibility for weed control rests primarily with the landowner.
  • Further information on a landowners responsibilities in regard to The Weeds Act can be found in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) leaflet “The Weeds Act 1959 – Preventing The Spread of Harmful Weeds”, which is available from DEFRA publications and also on the DEFRA website

What is Ragwort?

Ragworts (Senecio spp.) are poisonous weeds of which Senecio Jacobaea is the most common. It can become a major weed of waste or other uncultivated ground.

Appearance

Ragwort is a tall erect plant to 90cm with large flat-topped clusters of yellow daisy-like flowers from July to October. The plant is usually a biennial (living only two years and flowering in its second year).

The problem

Ragwort is rarely a problem in gardens but may occur in paddocks, railway embankments and areas of unimproved pasture. Cattle and horses are particularly susceptible to poisoning.

Common Ragwort produces large numbers of seeds which are dispersed by the wind.

Control

Non-chemical control
The main method is pulling or cutting the plants before they flower and set seed. Cut plants are still a serious risk to grazing animals and may still set seed. They should be removed and burnt.

Pulling is practical where weed numbers are low, but the benefit is only temporary. Roots remaining in the soil will give rise to new plants. Mechanical excavation is also an option but allowance for the seed bank is required.

Chemical control
Where non-chemical control methods are not feasible, chemical treatments maybe used however Environment Agency consent will have to be sought prior to chemical application to plants on riverbanks

No single herbicide application will completely eliminate a Ragwort infestation due to successive germinations of the weed. Treatment with selective herbicides can be made in the Spring but, as Ragwort is a biennial, control measures will have to be conducted for at least 2 years

To find out more about our Other Invasive Weed Solutions Solution speak to one of our team today on 0800-122-3326 or send us a message.