Business & Investment

Worst year in history for Japanese knotweed

Deep in the jungle undergrowth, the lovely lime-colored leaves of the Japanese knotweed provide a welcoming shade on a sunny day in the countryside of Buckinghamshire.

It’s no wonder that wealthy Victorian landowners fell in love with this exotic plant and added fashionable ornamental species to the botanical gardens.

But these days, if you find oriental spade-shaped leaves and spotted pink stems in your garden, the alarm bell should start ringing. You may be facing a home disaster.

Forget the horror of John Wyndham’s Triffid-era plants-Knotweed is real.

Threat: Reporter Toby Warne sprays a terrifying Japanese knotweed

It grows up to a foot in a week and can not only kill other plants, but also destroy the foundations of your home and cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. It can also knock out the value of your home by 10 percent.

And if it’s not bad enough, once it’s found in the yard, your home may not sell unless you dig it up to a specialist or spend thousands of pounds to chemically destroy it. not.

Tade is an unprecedented threat. The moist spring and subsequent sunlight provided the best conditions for spreading like a wildfire. And despite the heat of this month’s G7 Summit, global warming will not go away, so I won’t go anywhere.

I’m in Buckinghamshire with the weed control company Environet. And it doesn’t take long to encounter the threat on a quiet country road 10 miles south of Alice Burley.

Tade is not shattered like Triffid, and its delicate leaves give no clue to the power of the plant to cause havoc.

I am attracted to the 3 inch wide leaves that resemble a heart-shaped bindweed. Nettles nearby seem to be much more dangerous.

But while studying mottled bamboo-like green stems with purple and red spots, environmental director Luke Walton points out how prolific the growth of this plant is. ..

He says:’Look up and you’ll see that in some respects the Tade is about 10 feet high.

“It stretches 20 feet along this sidewalk, but what’s not clear is that it returns another 30 feet undergrowth.

You can spend £ 20,000 to hire a specialist to dig up this jungle, but chemical treatment costs at least £ 5,000 and may require at least five years of spraying to kill it. Hmm.

Now we have identified this threat to Japan. Now is the time to fight back. Wearing gloves, boots and a white boiler overall with a 16 liter knapsack spray weighing 20 kg, I start spraying generously on the plant with a 3-foot spear.

It starts with a simple task, but after 10 minutes of 2 hours of work, I begin to wilt under the intense heat.

Walton points out that to defeat the beast of Tade, you must visit this place twice a year and spray it for at least the next five years.

He states: ‘It may look bad on the ground, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The actual damage is done in a network of rhizomes called rhizomes, which can spread undetected for years.

Under Wildlife and Country Law of 1981, growing Tade in the wild is a crime. However, it is not illegal to grow persicaria in your garden unless it causes a “persistent or continuous adverse effect on the quality of life of the people in the area”.

In this case, the local government can order you to spend thousands of pounds to destroy it.

Since 2013, homeowners also have a legal requirement to state whether the Japanese knotweed is in their property when filling out the mandatory “TA6” form (the document used to transport the property).

Detection dog can eradicate it

Weapon: Mick can sniff out Tade

Weapon: Mick can sniff out Tade

A new weapon in the fight against Japanese knotweed is the detection dog.

In collaboration with Environet, dog handling company RFA Security trains dogs to detect the rhizomes of Japanese knotweed. The smell of these rhizomes is up to 4 feet underground.

Dogs are trained in the same way they find explosives.

As a puppy, I’m playing with a tennis ball next to a Japanese knotweed.

Detective dogs can detect stagnation even when they are invisible, such as when they are dormant in winter or when they are truncated to avoid detection by home sellers.

Two-year-old Mick is one of two fox red Labradors trained by RFA Security to detect Tade.

When unlaced, Mick licks nearby leaves, cleanses the palette, and pierces his nose into the air for a particular scent.

Ignoring the Tade Forest, which is 10 feet above the ground, he focuses only on what is beneath the soil. When you find the rhizome of Tade, rub it desperately with your feet.

The secret lies in Mick’s nose. It has 300 million receptors linked to areas of the brain to detect scents that are 40 times larger than humans.

The detection dog service isn’t as cheap as £ 900, but Mick is currently one of the best Japanese knotweed detectors on the planet.

If you are buying a home and Tade is found in the yard, the mortgage provider may insist on eradicating it before agreeing to lend you money. You may be sued if the seller is not honest with the TA6 form.

If a terrifying plant is caught early enough, it can be conquered. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the most effective and easiest way to tackle the limited outbreak of Persicaria serrata is to use glyphosate-based treatments such as Roundup tree stump herbicides.

Plants can be reduced in the summer, leaving only 8 inches of hollow stems above the ground. The herbicide is then dropped into the depression to suck up the poison and kill the underground growth.

However, it usually requires at least 3-4 seasons of treatment. Professional Persicaria eradications cost more, but they have access to stronger herbicides that may tackle outbreaks in a shorter period of time.

You also need to provide a certificate that the work has been completed and the issue has been resolved. The company must also include a guarantee that if the problem recurs within 5 or 10 years, it will be treated free of charge as part of the initial contract.

Colin Peters of Perfect Ground Solutions, a weed control specialist in Wareside, Hertfordshire, said: ..

‘You can pay £ 100 or so for a site visit from an expert to diagnose the situation and see how it is treated. If you are lucky, hundreds of pounds may be enough for several repeated treatments. The final invoice can be well below £ 1,000, which is well spent money.

However, Peters warns that doing nothing is not a wise option given that the tide tends to spread.

If you try to dig it yourself, you can accidentally disturb the rhizomes of the soil and cause harm. Removing contaminated soil and treating persistent lumps of persicaria can cost at least £ 5,000.

Other periods lurking in the undergrowth

Giant Hogweed

This noxious weed can grow to a height of 18 feet and can cause nasty burns and blisters to the touch. In rare cases, it can even cause blindness.

Looks like a little brother’s cow parsley. It will bloom this month and next month. The size of the dinner plate is a bunch of white flowers that spread like an umbrella.

It has a purple, spotted 4-inch wide hairy green stem.

Himalayan balsam

The bully in this garden playground has charming pink orchid-like flowers that spread like a trumpet, and oval leaves with pointed teeth.

But don’t be fooled by this friendly look. Height can grow up to 10 feet. This nasty plant thug takes over the flowerbed and causes havoc that kills everything in the way. It is often seen by the river.

General rhododendron

A large evergreen shrub that gladly squeezes life out of competition in a well-kept garden.

Those beautiful large purple flowers obscure its essence. It grows up to 16 feet, but the biggest damage is the thick, leafy canopy. Just as other plants struggle to survive, they starve the sunlight and poison the soil.

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Worst year in history for Japanese knotweed

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