How close is Japanese knotweed getting to my home? – BBC News

Image caption Knotweed can grow for a price of 10cm per day in the summer

2 centuries ago, when Victorian technicians were designing the latest in transportation technology, Japanese knotweed sounded just like a very clever idea.

A plant that typically colonised volcanoes in Japan was brought in to Britain to help hide, or even even stabilise, railway embankments.

Since then its spread provides caused much unhappiness amongst home-owners and prospective house purchasers.

It can crack tarmac, obstruct drains, undermine foundations and get into homes. Its presence can be sufficient to cut a property’s value simply by up to 20%, or prevent a home loan lender approving a loan.

But just as new technology created the problem initially, new technology may help to solve it.

How close could it be to me?

Five in years past, the Environment Agency commissioned a new application to track Japanese knotweed, using the crowd-sourcing principle.

More than twenty, 000 people have now downloaded this, and their data has pin-pointed over 6, 000 knotweed areas.

Image copyright PlantTracker

Click here to view full UNITED KINGDOM map , and then zoom into your area

“If we are able to get more people taking an interest plus submitting records, so much the better, inch says Dave Kilbey, director associated with Natural Apptitude, which designed plus launched the app.

“Hopefully it will mean people will end up a bit more aware of the problems, and what to consider. ”

So far the final results show a particular concentration of knotweed in South Wales, the Midlands, London, Scotland’s central belt plus Cornwall – where the plant seemed to be introduced by Victorians into decorative gardens.

Those searching for a property can use the app to discover if knotweed has been found close by – but the fact it is not for the map does not mean it is not present; it really is simply that no one has documented it.

  • Get PlantTracker app: IoS phones here ; Android phones here

How to recognize Japanese knotweed

Image caption The rose was first imported to the UK within the 19th century
  • Thick thickets of green, purple-speckled, bamboo-like stems up to three meters high
  • Heart or shield-shaped simply leaves
  • Alternate leafing pattern together stems
  • Completely hollow comes that can be snapped easily
  • Small creamy white flowers August in order to October

Rivers and waterways

The data provided by the particular PlantTracker app is also added to the particular National Biodiversity Network (NBN) atlas, which aims to track the location of all the UK’s plants and creatures, from bee orchids to goshawks.

Even though it has just been available to the public since 04, and is not yet fully functional, the particular atlas has further information about Japan knotweed locations.

The particular map shows more than 43, 1000 historical records for the plant, returning to 1900.

Yet Purba Choudhury, communications officer for your NBN, says that if there are simply no records in your area, that doesn’t guarantee the absence.

“Conversely, the particular record you are seeing might be a classic record, and the Japanese knotweed has been removed since the record was published, ” she says.

Image copyright NBN atlas
Image caption Specific areas of the UK are worst impacted, such as South Wales

Click here to view full NBN chart of the UK , then focus in to your area

The particular South Wales section of the NBN map (above) shows how knotweed spreads along the course of rivers plus canals.

In such places tiny fragments of knotweed drift downstream, and quickly establish by themselves elsewhere.

What happens if I find knotweed?

Trying to destroy Japanese knotweed on your own is virtually impossible.

That is because the roots, or rhizomes, spread rapidly underground, and can make from tiny amounts of material. Actually it can grow at the rate associated with 10cm a day during the summer.

“Digging it out of the surface can just spread it awfully, ” warns Stephen Hodgson, the main executive of the Property Care Organization (PCA).

“If one has it in your garden, either depart it alone, or treat it correctly. ”

Image copyright laws Japanese Knotweed Control
Image caption Injection along with glyphosate is the most effective treatment

The recommendation is as follows:

  • Do not try to get it up: Tiny root fragments may regenerate into another plant
  • If you cut down the branches, get rid of them on-site. Compost separately, ideally on plastic sheets
  • Never take it to your local council dump. It requires specialist waste management
  • Never dispose of it in the countryside. This really is against the law
  • Do not spread the particular soil. Earth within seven horizontally meters of a plant can be polluted
  • Take advice from the Intrusive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) or maybe the Property Care Association (PCA) upon local removal contractors. Many remedies don’t work
Image copyright Dave Kilbey
Image caption The rose can dominate roadsides

In an experiment becoming conducted in South Wales, a large number of plant lice were released final summer, in the hopes that they would certainly help destroy some of the knotweed together river banks.

Yet otherwise the accepted best-practice therapy is for professionals to inject the rose with industrial-strength weed killer glyphosate.

David Layland, the particular joint managing director of Japan Knotweed Control, based in Stockport, states it is the only thing that works.

“Once we inject in it, it transfers into the root program pretty quickly, and then it binds with the roots. Over time, it rots away into the subsoil. ”

But professional treatment is certainly costly, starting at about 2, five hundred, and going upwards to thirty, 000 for a major infestation.

Court case

Just as big a get worried for many home-owners is the discovery that the neighbour has Japanese knotweed in the or her property, and will not do anything about it.

Image copyright Dave Kilbey
Image caption Knotweed flowers between August and Oct

Yet under the 2014 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime plus Policing Act , local local authorities or police forces can now concern a Community Protection Notice (CPN), driving neighbours to take action, and fining all of them if they don’t.

“I think when they are enforced — and they are starting to be enforced – CPNs are very effective, ” says Stephen Hodgson.

“But they are, and really should be, a measure of last holiday resort. ”

In the meantime idol judges at the Court of Appeal are usually gearing up to provide an important preceding on who should pay in case a landowner allows knotweed to encroach on somebody else’s property.

Next year they will rule within the case of Williams v Network Train – after 2 homeowners in South Wales had been awarded 15, 000 to compensate all of them for knotweed which had distribute into their gardens.