‘Real threat’: Japanese knotweed ‘easy to spot’ as cases on the rise in UK

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A recent study by Horticulture.co.uk discovered that the number of Japanese knotweed cases has increased by a huge 28 percent in the UK in the past five years. This is a significant number, and although the invasive weed is easy to spot, it often goes unnoticed until it is too late.

Japanese knotweed is one of the most invasive weeds in the country.

As well as damaging property, it can also devalue it.

Home insurance providers may also refuse cover if the property has Japanese knotweed present.

Emma Stanton of Home Risk explained: “Japanese knotweed can be a real threat to the stability of your property and other homes around you.

“Knotweed can devalue your home due to the significant harm it can pose to the foundations of your property.

“The weed is very stubborn and difficult to get rid of, with strong roots that can grow through bricks and concrete.

“This can cause problems with ground stability and potentially cause subsidence of your home if left untreated.

“Not only this but it can also affect the foundations of your neighbours properties.”

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According to the expert, it is a criminal offence if you are aware of a knotweed infestation and allow it to spread into neighbours’ land.

Luckily, it has a distinctive look and there are key signs to look for.

Emma explained: “Japanese knotweed is easy to spot – the plants grow to more than two metres tall with rough triangular leaves and white/yellow flowers.”

How do you get rid of the invasive weed?

The expert said: “Removal is a tricky process and involves an application of chemicals over a sustained period, with many plants taking up to three years to fully die.

“Then further complications come with the disposal of it, you can bury it at a depth of five metre if underneath a non-permeable membrane and with permission from the environmental agency, or burn it, or dispose in a registered and approved waste site.

“If you dispose of it incorrectly and the plant ends up further damaging wild land, you could be fined up to £5,000.

“There are specialist contractors who can deal with your Japanese knotweed problem, although expensive, an infestation of this plant could be even more costly in the long-term due to the threat it poses to the stability of your property.”

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According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Japanese knotweed spreads “rapidly”.

While winter may cause the plant to die, Britons should be warned that in spring, the weed can shoot up to seven feet extremely quickly.

This can cause huge problems for anyone wanting to sell or buy properties in the UK.

The RHS said: “It is not illegal to have Japanese knotweed in your garden, but on your property you should aim to control this invasive non-native plant to prevent it becoming a problem in your neighbourhood.”

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