Japanese Knotweed – truths and treatments

Every gardener’s worst fear is a creeping and unstoppable invasion of a non-native species. For a growing number of gardeners around the UK, it’s a nightmare that is all too real, in the form of the voracious Japanese knotweed.

We hear so many horror stories about this plant and the destruction it can cause to gardens and homes that something of a myth is starting to grow around it. How could this attractive species possibly be so much trouble? After all, it was introduced to Britain nearly 200 years ago because it was pretty to look at and the wealthier classes loved it and wanted it as a feature in their gardens.

As with many things, Japanese knotweed has been whipped up into such a frenzy of horror stories that for some people, just the mention of its name might send them running. The purpose of this blog post is to set the record straight and clear the Japanese knotweed air!

People’s views on Japanese knotweed

New research for Environet, the UK’s leading Japanese knotweed removal firm, confirms people’s heightened fear about the plant, as it found a “high level of anxiety around Japanese knotweed and alarming levels of myth and misinformation”. People think they can’t possibly deal with Japanese knotweed in their gardens, that it will just keep coming back, that it would be too costly to try and eradicate it, or would take up too much of their time.

The research, in the form of a survey carried out earlier this year, says such is the level of fear over Japanese knotweed that most people would not go ahead with a property purchase if it was growing in the garden. What a terrible shame to find what might be your dream home, only for the deal to be scuppered by an out-of-control plant that’s not even native to our shores.

The reality is different, though. While many people think you might as well just give up when you see Japanese knotweed creeping into a property (allowing it to do so is, in fact, illegal), specialist knotweed treatment can quickly get rid of the problem. It’s all about finding out what the best options are and getting on with an eradication plan.

The best Japanese knotweed treatment

So rather than gardeners and would-be homeowners scaring ourselves half to death the next time we see something resembling Japanese knotweed in the garden, let’s keep in mind that there are real things we can do to give it the boot.

A relatively inexpensive option for clearing Japanese knotweed from a garden are herbicide treatments that are effective and usually applied around four times over a two-year growing period. So it does take time, and some patience is required.

If you want to get rid of Japanese knotweed entirely and in one fell swoop, specialist dig-out methods, like those developed by Environet, get the entire root network out of the ground while leaving the soil in place afterwards, rather than having to dispose of it. It’s this deep system of roots that makes Japanese knotweed so hard to kill, because just cutting down the plant above ground will cause the roots to send up new shoots and the infestation continues. Getting to the root of the problem, therefore, is vital.

As more people become aware of effective knotweed treatment and know they can deal with the uninvited plant in their gardens, the worried views of those espoused in the Environet survey are certain to change. We can get back to our gardening safe in the knowledge that there need knot be any anxiety with Japanese knotweed at all.