Japanese knotweed has become one of the most invasive weeds to be found in the United Kingdom. This weed has caused serious problems to natural areas and houses, compromising the structure of homes and driveways by growing through foundations and pushing up through paving.
This is one of the most aggressive weeds you can find in your garden and it’s almost impossible to eradicate without professional assistance. It is early spring when you need to start checking your garden for this unwelcome visitor.
In early spring, purple shoots start to push up through the soil. They may look harmless enough, but you won’t feel that way in a few weeks when cane like stems are reaching over three metres in height and taking over your entire garden.
The problem with knotweed is that it doesn’t only grow up, it grows sideways and then pushes up stems as it grows. This means that before you realise there is a problem, it has grown out of control and without assistance, and you will be fighting it for years to come.
Many people don’t know how to identify this weed, so they only realise it is an invasive plant when it grows creamy white flowers in later summer.
There are many ways to combat knotweed. There are sprays on the market, but these don’t eradicate and remove the problem, they only cause the stem to die. When you think that this weed is growing underground and making its way through your entire property, it’s not very comforting to know you’ve only managed to kill what is growing above ground.
There are a number of root treatments available and when you call in the professionals you will find they inject directly into the stem, which in turn kills the root. It doesn’t stop here and the garden will need to be dug up to ensure all traces of the weed are removed.
Neighbours will become angry with you and can complain if you have this weed growing in your garden. Because of the speed it grows, it can quickly make its way into neighbouring properties. The best thing to do while you wait for the garden specialists to arrive is to put up a barrier, which should be dug into the ground between your garden and the neighbours, reducing the risk of the weed growing beyond your fence.
You can also try cutting the stems. While this will not kill the plant, it will slow down the growth rate. The problem with this is that you cannot throw the stems you cut in with your regular garden waste. These plants need to be disposed of in a safe and effective manner, which requires a special license.
The safest and most effective way to eradicate and remove knotweed is to spend the money and use a reputable weed company. They have the experience and knowledge to not only kill the plant, but also remove all traces of it, ensuring it doesn’t grow back into your garden.
If you live close to a reserve or nature area, ensure you keep a close eye on your garden and watch for any purple stems which may push through in early spring. By the time the stems are pushing through the plant is already making its way underground, through your entire plot. Don’t waste time trying to kill it yourself, get on the phone and call a company as soon as possible.
The company should also be able to offer you valuable advice on how to keep the plant under control until they are able to get to you.