Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive and destructive plants in the UK. Originally brought over here in the nineteenth century, it was imported to Britain to help hide, or possibly even stabilise, railway embankments.
Japanese knotweed can crack tarmac, block drains, undermine foundations and invade homes. It’s presence can cut a property’s value by 20% and can even prevent mortgage lenders approving a loan.
New technology has helped solve the issue by the Environment Agency commissioning a new app to track the Japanese Knotweed, using the crowd-sourcing principle. So far their data has pinpointed over 6,000 knotweed locations and more than 20,000 people have downloaded the app.
Dave Kilbey, director of Natural Apptitude, who designed the app says “If we can get more people taking an interest and submitting records, so much the better,”
The app can be used by property hunters to find out if Japanese knotweed has been found nearby, however if not shown on the app it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any in that area.
Advice what to do if you find Japanese knotweed:
- Don’t try and dig the plant up: Tiny root fragments can invigorate into another plant
- If you cut down the branches, dispose of them on-site. Compost separately, preferably on plastic sheets
- It requires specialist waste management – do not take to the local tip
- Do not spread the soil. Earth within seven horizontal metres of a plant can be contaminated
Note: It is an offence to dispose of Japanese knotweed in the countryside
The treatment of the plant includes either being sprayed (smaller plants) with undiluted industrial strength glyphosate herbicide or being injected into the hollow stem with the same solution.
The treatment would include 4 or more visits to ensure the plant has been treated successfully.