‘One of the most troublesome garden weeds’ How to identify and eliminate Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed: Phil Spencer discusses plant

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Removing Japanese knotweed from your garden can be a difficult process, which is why Gardeners’ World has named it “one of the most troublesome garden weeds”. In order to properly eradicate this fast-growing plant, gardeners must first make sure they identify all of the areas in their garden it has begun to take over.

How to identify Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed was actually introduced to Britain in the 1800s as an ornamental garden plant due to its many attractive features.

The plant is known for its heart-shaped leaves and creamy-white coloured flowers known as panicles.

The blooms usually arrive in clusters between late summer and early autumn.

Sometimes, Japanese knotweed can be mistaken for common shrubs such as dogwood due to the large amounts of foliage it produces.

One thing that sets this plant apart is its shovel-shaped green leaves and bamboo-like stems.

Occasionally, leaves may develop red or purple flecks of colour.

Japanese knotweed most often grows to approximately seven feet in height, but in extreme can grow more than nine feet.

The plant can grow up to 10cm per day during late spring and early summer.

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How to get rid of Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is notoriously difficult to get rid of and can even deter potential buyers from making an offer on a property for this very reason.

According to Gardeners’ World: “Small clumps of Japanese knotweed are fairly straightforward to manage and can be removed by the home gardener by digging or spraying with weedkiller.

“However, we recommend you hire a qualified, professional company to control large clumps.”

One of the main benefits of hiring a professional is that they will have a full plan to guarantee the plant is completely eradicated and will not return.

If you want to take on a smaller growth yourself, the best option is to use a chemical killer.

Gardners’ World explained: “Digging the plant out of the ground can cause more problems in the long run, owing to its ability to regenerate from small pieces of root and the issues around its disposal.

“It is possible to gradually weaken the plant by removing all leaves as soon as they grow, which stops the plant photosynthesising.

“However, this method can take many years to have an effect – you will need to check the plant at least once a week and remove new leaf buds as and when you see them.”

Instead, the experts recommend using a glyphosate-based weedkiller, though this can take several applications over four seasons for results to appear.

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