Discovering you’ve got Japanese knotweed in your garden can be worrying. You know it’s not a good thing, but what should you do? Here at Japanese Knotweed Specialists, we like to keep people informed, hence this Japanese knotweed information blog. The first thing is not to panic. There are things you can do, and we can help you do them.
You might decide to spend some time Googling the problem, but don’t be surprised to find lots of conflicting information. We’re going to set the record straight and provide some tips. There’s no point denying that Japanese knotweed isn’t a problem because it can be in some cases.
A mortgage company might refuse to lend you money on the property without a Japanese knotweed management plan. If you leave it to grow rampant, it could damage surrounding buildings, hard landscaping and even sneak into your neighbour’s garden.
Let’s share some Japanese knotweed information you need to know.
Japanese knotweed is very distinctive. It has small cream flowers, reddish stems that are very similar to bamboo, and large leaves.
The leaves are heart or spade-shaped and can be as big as 14 centimetres or 5 1/2 inches.
In the winter, this invasive species dies back, and the stems become bare and brown.
The plant flowers in late summer to early autumn and is rather attractive. The plant produces flowers on tall spurs that can be as long as 15 1/4 centimetres or 6 inches long. The flowers are creamy-white.
Reproduction takes place via rhizomes. These are underground stems that send out root systems. The smallest piece of the rhizome can quickly grow into a new plant. It can even be carried to a new location in topsoil that is being removed or on the bottom of your shoe. You might not know you are transporting it because even soil that looks unaffected might be affected.
Specific instructions are in place for vehicles transferring Japanese knotweed to a disposal site. They must be thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Vital checks are in place to ensure no plant matter or rhizomes remain. They could easily be spread to another area.
Japanese knotweed is a tenacious plant, and you should enlist professional help if you need to have it removed.
Many methods of removal are available. Call in a professional, and they will choose one of two ways. They might even decide a combination of treatments is the best solution. Only after careful examination of the area will the most appropriate method become apparent.
Herbicide treatments – It is a very popular treatment method that has to take place when the plant is growing. Commonly, it would be a programme that includes four treatments, spread over two years. There would be a monitoring visit in the third year to ensure the knotweed’s growth has been restricted. This is the most affordable method but is considered to be a control method rather than complete removal.
Physical removal – Removal is the second option. By physically removing the root system, this method has a far greater chance of success. Soil is excavated, together with all parts of the knotweed. The viable rhizome is removed from the soil and disposed of correctly. Excavation only takes a few days, and you can get a professional Japanese knotweed company to do it at any time of the year.
It is not usual for most normal household insurance policies to cover issues associated with Japanese knotweed. One exception might be legal expenses cover, should a legal claim be made or brought by the policyholder.
Specific indemnity insurance is available, but it will cost extra. Cover includes risks associated with knotweed, such as the cost of professional treatment, property repairs, and legal defence.
If you want to build or hardscape an area that is or has been affected by Japanese knotweed, the recommendation is that you call in the professionals and ask them to physically remove the knotweed from the site.
If you rely on a herbicide method, the rhizome system could lay dormant in the soil. When it is disturbed, the knotweed will start growing again. There will be delays while the knotweed is removed, or you run the risk of your building or hardscaping project being damaged by its subsequent growth.
One of the biggest concerns is that Japanese knotweed is able to grow through anything that gets in its way. It has caused damage to buildings, patios, driveways, drainage systems, and boundary walls.
Its ability to cause such destruction has led many banks and building societies to change their lending criteria. It is difficult and more expensive to secure a mortgage on a property that has Japanese knotweed in the garden. As a result, it can also reduce the value of your property.
As more homeowners learn about the Japanese knotweed, it has led to an increase in the number of legal disputes. One example of this is between neighbours, where knotweed has spread from one side of the fence to the other.
Our team of experts are on hand to answer any other questions you might have. Please get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help.