Japanese knotweed is an invasive weed that could cause damage to properties, flood defenses, rail infrastructure, road verges, landscaping schemes and retaining walls. The Japanese Knotweed can quickly cause mayhem once ignored, which is why expert Japanese knotweed identification is key. The weed could grow up to 20cm a day and roots could pull out to three meters deep and seven meters in any direction; extending to property drains and foundation, causing a lot of damage.
The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) is an organization body concerned with controlling and eradicating non-native species in the UK. The body lately published a new Code of Practice to help give awareness on the impacts of the plant as well as its management and treatment. The LK group, a member of INNSA has helped create the new guidelines which recognize that Japanese Knotweed contamination in the environment is causing damage to land and property worth. The plant does not distinguish between natural and built environment. It is therefore essential for local authorities to perform an assessment on their land and property rather than responding to rising cases of infestations.
Other councils including Devon and Cornwall have also impacted in controlling the menace by offering valuable and accurate advice on the fast growing weed. Japanese Knotweed costs about £165 million a year to manage in the UK.
The landowner is responsible for the weed’s control and could face a fine for letting the plant extend its damage to other people’s properties. The Environment Agency has offered guidelines to help manage and control the weed. Four new staff employed by local council looking to tackle knotweed have brought up several guidelines including guidance on identifying Japanese Knotweed:
- This plant yields fleshy red dashed shoots on its first break from the ground.
- It has large, spade-shaped green leaves.
- The plant has a hollow stem and its leaves are set in a zigzag pattern down the stem.
- The weed could create thick clumps that could be a number of meters deep.
- It could form a bunch of cream flowers in the summer.
- The plants leaves brown stems when it dies back between September and November.
After identifying the weed you are facing could be Japanese Knotweed, the local council further gave guidelines on eradicating the weed:
1.The weed will spread from cutting the weed down, mowing or trimming it. Dig out to remove roots.
2.Japanese Knotweed must be disposed as controlled wastes. You must not put the weed in your normal household waste, or garden waste. Do not take the weed to a cycling centre.
3.The weed needs to be sprayed with herbicides for a period of up to three years. Land owners or occupiers could face criminal prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500 for failing to control the weed. Organization would face the risk of facing a fine of up to £20,000.
4.Let the plant to grow to about 90 meters and then spray them with herbicides. The weed will reach this height in May. Spray again in mid-summer since the plant will have re-grown by then. If the weed has re-grown in September, spray again before it starts to die down.
The local council, through INNSA has shed light on Japanese Knotweed, dealing with the issue case by case and on the ground. This has promoted awareness to occupiers on how to manage and eradicate this harmful weed.