Japanese Knotweed: No Longer the Problem Plant

Who knew that when Japanese knotweed was introduced to Britain in the 1840s by a Dutch botanist that it would go on to cause issues with properties around the country?

Back in those early days, the fast-growing plant was viewed as pretty and even ornamental by those in the upper echelons of society. It became highly sought after and fashionable. But as the years and decades rolled on, it fell firmly out of favour, as it took root in the UK and spread out of control.

The problem with this Japanese weed that was causing Britons to get in a knot was that it was a ferocious grower that was seemingly unstoppable. It damaged homes and with an underground network of rhizomes, or creeping stems, that were ready to send up new shoots when it was slashed down, it became almost impossible to control. Until, that is, relatively recently.

Japanese Knotweed and the Law

In the UK, there are legal provisions for dealing with non-native and invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed. Failure to contain it on a property and allowing it to spread, as well as improper removal of it or the soil it’s in, may result in prosecution. The official guidance is as follows: “You don’t have to remove Japanese knotweed from your land, but you could be prosecuted or given a community protection notice for causing a nuisance if you allow it to spread onto anyone else’s property.”

For the average homeowner, however, trying to get rid of the growing problem of Japanese knotweed on the premises can be extremely difficult. Even after slashing the bushy plant down and digging up as many roots as possible, it is entirely likely that some parts may linger in the soil and start growing all over again, leading to the same problem.

Modern techniques for eradicating Japanese knotweed typically involve a combination of herbicidal treatments and excavation of the infested site. It is important to approach it from a professional perspective and with specialist tools and equipment, because the potential damage to property is all too real — including to the foundations.

A Firm Removal Guarantee

The best Japanese knotweed removal firms in the UK today don’t just eradicate the pest and go. They promise their work will last. Companies like market leader Environet provide their commercial and residential customers with a firm Japanese knotweed removal guarantee that covers a period of up to 10 years, with five years as standard.

Environet’s guarantee is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London and has up to £100,000 in liability cover. It’s one of the few such firms operating in the UK today to have this kind of top-level insurance and a testament to its success in getting rid of Japanese knotweed.

This kind of assurance is vital in not only protecting a property, but getting a mortgage for one in the first place, too. If there’s any sign of Japanese knotweed on a site or starting to creep into a property, mortgage providers will generally not approve a new mortgage. At the very least, they will want to see solid proof that the weed has been professionally exterminated and that there’s a guarantee in place.

Now that there is real help at hand to effectively deal with the source of Japanese knotweed, the days of the plant creating all kinds of problems with properties is finally coming to an end.