Nobody wants to find out they have Japanese knotweed in their garden. Here’s what to do if the unfortunate occurs.
How Do I Know If I’ve Got It?
Japanese knotweed begins its growth during the early spring and can reach a meter and half tall by early May and a full 3 meters height by June. By late September or Early November the entire plant will have died and gone to seed. The best time to make a positive identification will be during the summer months and a bit before the fall.
Here are some of the things you should look out for.
Fleshy-red shoots breaking through the ground
Large heart shaped green leaves
Dense clumps up to several meters deep
Cream flowers in July that attract bees
A bamboo-like stem
What Can I Do About It?
The truth is that it is especially difficult to do anything about this plant plague. It is generally understood that this plant can’t be dug up from the ground. If a single root is missed, the process is ineffective and the entire plant system will soon be back in business.
Another approach would be to use herbicidal chemicals. These can be sprayed or injected into the stems. The entire process will take as long as 6 months to complete and can be especially costly as well. A single patch of Japanese Knotweed will cost as much as £1,500 to remove successfully
Scientists on the subject have been looking into a different solution. A special breed of insects that feast on Japanese Knotweed can be introduced to specific areas with higher humidity to begin keeping the weed population in check. The only downside with this plan is that it is a long-term project that can take up to a decade to accomplish completely.
But if the bugs are not eating fast enough, you can actually give them some help. That’s right, Japanese knotweed is a nutritious vegetable. But you will need to eat fast to keep up with rapid growth and proliferation of Japanese Knotweed.
Japanese Knotweed Removal Requires Informed Knowledge
Removing Japanese Knotweed is a tricky thing to accomplish, especially if you have little or no experience in the project. It only takes the smallest vestige of roots or rhizomes to begin a whole new Knotweed patch and this can be a problem. Therefore, digging up roots is not always a successful plan.
If you have found Japanese Knotweed growing in your garden or property, you will want to do what you can to rid yourself of this plague as fast as you can.
DIY: Getting Rid of Knotweed Yourself
There is a possibility that you can remove the plant yourself. But there are many risks involved with this project. The most important is that unless you pull the entire weed plant from its roots it will be there again when you get back. Furthermore, you will not get a guarantee on your work. This is important because most mortgage providers will ask for this guarantee when lending to a knotweed-infected property.
Because the knotweed rhizomes can grow to unprecedented depths, they are typically missed and regrowth will occur.
With this in mind, here are some practical Do’s and Don’ts’
#1 Don’t spread Knotweed soil
This plant is so infectious it has been rated a type of ‘controlled waste’. This means that it must be properly disposed of at a licensed landfill. Never include your Japanese Knotweed in your regular household refuse.
#2 Do get to the roots
You need to remove as much of the root as you possibly can, but expect that regrowth is inevitable and you will need to repeat your efforts quite soon. Eventually, the energy reserves sequestered in the soil will be exhausted and the Knotweed will die in frustration. You can expect this process to take several years to complete.
#3 Don’t allow Japanese knotweed to spread to neighborhood properties
Talk to your neighbors about the knotweed problem growing on your land and the treatment tactics you have in mind for addressing this issue. You may want to consider a barrier to prevent these plants from spreading to your neighbors property.
#4 Don’t do any DIY removal if you plan on selling your home
If you are planning to sell the home, avoid any DIY Knotweed removal projects. Mortgage lenders will typically demand that only professional knotweed removal services such as Environet be applied in this project.
Top 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Japanese Knotweed!
1. Will digging it up and burning it get rid of it?
No. For an invasive plant like Japanese Knotweed digging and burning are not sufficient. Japanese Knotweed are great at surviving this type of treatment and this type of disturbance can cause them to rapidly spread to other areas of the ground. Perhaps even your neighbor’s garden.
2. Will Japanese knotweed come back?
There’s always a chance that Japanese Knotweed will come back, this is especially true when using herbicidal treatment. The effectiveness will depend not only on the treatment applied but also the skill and experience of the person applying the herbicide.
Treatments should be continued until an entire year passes without a trace of Japanese Knotweed growth.
3. Can I get a mortgage if I have Japanese knotweed on my property?
You can but there are some risks to know about. You may be required to begin a Japanese Knotweed Containment program. The presence of Japanese Knotweed in your property can decrease the value of your home.
4. How does it spread?
Japanese Knotweed uses vegetative means to spread as opposed to seed dispersal.
Rhizomes may begin to form from an existing crown or they can grow from cutting made of an original stem that has found the proper environment for more growth. New outbreaks are typically caused by rhizomes or fragments of rhizomes being moved from one place to another.
This can happen for a great variety of reasons, including soil relocation, fly-tipping, gardening projects and other natural processes as well. This is why it is essential that all fragments of this plant are completely destroyed.