Japanese Knotweed is a big problem in the United Kingdom and in North America. This rugged plant has robust growth habits and is very nearly impossible to kill. In this article, we will describe this offensive intruder and explain why it is so important to get the help of a Japanese Knotwood Specialist to eradicate it. Read on to learn more.
If you live in Japan, the UK, Mexico or North America, you are sure to have seen it; although you may have heard it referred to by one of its other names. This invasive pest has two botanical names: Polygonum cuspidatum and Fallopia japonica. It is also commonly called:
* Japanese Knotweed
* Japanese Bamboo
* Mexican Bamboo
* Godzilla Weed
Even though the plant has canes like a bamboo plant, it is not actually bamboo. It is really a type of buckwheat. While the plant does have some uses as an animal feed, its rampantly invasive nature makes it a true pest that has worn out its welcome completely.
How Did It Get Out Of Japan?
Like many invasive plants, this easy-to-grow, individually attractive plant was purposely introduced to the UK as a novel addition to English gardens and as a potential source of animal feed. In the mid-1800s, a gentleman by the name of Philippe von Siebold brought innocent-looking cuttings of the plant to the UK and began selling them to individuals.
The plant reproduced quickly, became popular and was available for general sale to the public around 1870. This availability promoted wide spread of the plant, and around the turn of the century people began to see just what a horrible pest it really is.
Why Is Japanese Knotweed Considered A Pest?
This plant can grow so rapidly you can almost watch it! It can spread a full yard every day. It grows from rhizomes which spread aggressively through the soil to a depth of about two meters. They are so vigorous that they actually cause damage to plumbing, the foundations of houses, roadways and other structures. In fact, having Godzilla Plant near your home can significantly reduce the value of your home.
Its destructive nature has caused purposeful growth of it to become a criminal offense. The Wildlife & Country Act of 1981 makes it illegal to introduce it into wild areas. If you have the plant on your property and do not take steps to remove it or control it, you could be served with an ASBO (Antisocial Behaviour Order).
What Can You Do?
Getting rid of and/or controlling this invader is difficult. Whatever you do, don’t try to eradicate it by digging it up. You will never get all the roots, and digging just encourages it to spread. It is possible to contain it by digging a deep trench around it and inserting a root barrier to a depth of three meters; however, the barrier must be installed correctly to work. Also, bear in mind that if you disrupt the rhizomes when you dig, you run the risk of spreading the plant rather than eradicating it.
There are a number of above-ground techniques you could try, including spraying it with herbicide or injecting an herbicidal solution into its stem; however, this takes a long time to work, and it is very expensive. In very humid areas, some types of insects may help with natural control of the plant; however, bear in mind that this is a very vigorous plant, and it is highly likely to develop defenses against both artificial and natural attempts to control or eradicate it.
A Japanese Knotweed Specialist Can Help You Devise A Plan
Understandably, control of Godzilla Weed is a big business in the UK, and those who specialize in battling this horticultural threat are held to high standards of performance and accountability. A true specialist will take great care in mapping out your problem and developing a solid plan to deal with it. He or she will keep accurate records of the progress of your eradication project. When there are canes and rhizomes to be disposed of, you can count on them being handled as controlled waste products to eliminate the risk of spread. Best of all, when you contract with a specialist, you will be the first to know when new methods of dealing with this threat are developed.