How to Control Japanese Knotweed – New Legislation
What is Japanese Knotweed?
Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant species that can cause severe damage to properties, river banks, roads and pavements if it is left to grow freely. In the UK, it is illegal to grow or plant Japanese Knotweed due to the damage that can be done to the forestry, agriculture and infrastructure sectors. The roots of the plant can grow as deep as 10 feet – this is one of the main reasons why eradicating the plant is so troublesome. If just a few inches of the root are left intact, then the plant can quickly regrow.
What are the current methods of control?
Glyphosate, a widely used weed killer, is the most effective method of eliminating Japanese Knotweed. This is because Glyphosate penetrates through the whole plant and travels to the roots.
Another method of control used in the UK is to dig up the plant; however it is difficult to safely dispose of the plant without spreading it further. Additionally, if just a minute amount of the roots are left in the ground then the plant can flourish.
Alternatively, people sometimes choose to cover the plants with concrete slabs. This must be done meticulously otherwise the plant can grow through even the smallest openings.
In 2010, the government released Aphalara itadori (an insect that feeds only on Japanese Knotweed) into a number of sites across Britain and has seen positive effects.
Recent changes in legislation mean that organisations could be served with anti-social behaviour notices if they fail to manage Japanese Knotweed on their premises. The anti-social behaviour notices can place restrictions on a person’s behaviour and if necessary, force them to take measures to eliminate the Japanese Knotweed.
Home owners and managing agents need to be aware that if they do not take adequate measures to prevent and eradicate Japanese Knotweed, they could be issued with a Community Protection Notice from the police or local authority, possibly leading to a fine.
“Breach of any requirement of a community protection notice, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence, subject to a fixed penalty notice (which attracts a penalty of £100) or prosecution. On summary conviction, an individual would be liable to a level 4 fine. An organisation, such as a company, is liable to a fine not exceeding £20,000”.