What You Need to Know About Japanese Knotweed

You are relaxing in your backyard garden admiring all the lovely flora. In the distance, a lovely leafy plant with delicate flowers catches your eye. Your mind takes you back to when you read about Japanese Knotweed and realize that the lovely plant you are seeing looks very similar. Here is what you should know.

Do I Have Japanese Knotweed and What Does It Look Like?

Japanese Knotweed is incredibly distinct in appearance. It has large leaves, reddish stems, and lovely little cream flowers. It can grow at an incredibly rapid pace of up to 10cm a day during Summer. Its roots are capable of growing through the toughest of ground like tarmac, which makes it highly aggressive. Chances are, by the time you spot Japanese Knotweed, the roots will already have grown over 2 meters from it branching out in every direction.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, and Himalayan Balsam?

Each plant has very distinctive leaves and that is the easiest way for you to tell them apart. The Japanese Knotweed plant has spade shaped leaves that have a pointed end, which makes them rather broad leaves. Giant Hogweed has narrow leaves that have spikes all the way down somewhat like nettles. Himalayan Balsam, on the other hand, has much narrower and pointy leaves.

How Does Japanese Knotweed Spread?

Japanese Knotweed spreads at speed through underground stems, which are known as rhizomes. It is capable of growing through materials, other than brick and concrete. If any cracks are present in foundations, it is capable of growing through those too. If there is any weakness with underground pipes, it can also compromise them. Japanese Knotweed is an incredibly hardy plant that thrives even in difficult circumstances and poor light conditions.

Is It Dangerous to Handle Japanese Knotweed?

Yes and no. It is definitely non-poisonous, but even if a tiny fragment of it remains on you and can deposit elsewhere, chances are it will grow there too. This is what makes it dangerous to handle it since it may lead to further destruction.

What Damage Can Japanese Knotweed Cause?

Very extensive damage. While it cannot grow through concrete and bricks, it can still work its way through small gaps and cracks. If you do a Google search, you can see pictures of the plant growing through floorboards and even walls in people’s homes. Anywhere that it can get through.

If left untreated, it can cause damage to patios, foundations, walls, and more. It is the reason why mortgage lenders take it seriously. What you must never do is to ignore it, particularly if it is within your property boundaries. Act immediately.

Japanese Knotweed can grow as much as 1ft during summer, but the real growth and damage is usually under the ground. If it is outside the boundaries of your property, get in touch with the local authorities to see whether they can eradicate it.

How Can I Get Rid of Japanese Knotweed?

Doing It Yourself

While it is certainly possible to remove it yourself, it is advisable to ask professionals to do it if you want the best chance of ensuring that you have eradicated it permanently. If you plan to do it yourself, however, you will require a lot of patience and determination.

Here’s what you will need:

–           Coveralls

–           Face Shield or Visor

–           Glyphosate Weed Killer

–           Disposable Boot/Shoe Covers

–           Face Mask to P3 Standards

–           Knapsack Style Sprayer

–           Rubber Gloves

It can also be a good idea to research the DIY removal process since you will have to be incredibly diligent in how you go about everything.  If you are thinking of removing Japanese Knotweed yourself, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

–           It can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to get rid of it completely

–           You must not put any part of the plant, dead or alive, in your compost

–           It must be disposed of in a licensed waste disposal facility including the soil dug up with it

–           It is advisable to first call the facility to be sure that they will accept it. You should also consider calling your local council to find out whether you are allowed to transport it to the waste disposal; facility

–           If you plan to dispose of Japanese Knotweed yourself, be sure to contact the Environmental Protection Agency first. For instance, if you plan to burn it, they need a week’s notice first.

Paying Somebody Else to Do It

It is the most recommended method for effectively removing Japanese Knotweed. Click here to arrange your removal.

The level of removal and guarantee you choose will dramatically affect the price. Once of the cheaper options is to have it chemically injected. Having the area excavated to remove all the rhizomes, on the other hand, is considerably pricier.

The specialist you hire will recommend the most suitable removal option for you as well as going through the options available to you. It is generally advisable to get at least 3 quotes and discuss what the removal options are as well as the costs.


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