Property owners, beware! Lurking somewhere near you may be a creeping problem that could land you in a world of property trouble and even with the law. It’s the scourge of Japanese knotweed that people all over the UK are battling with — and it’s a war that’s not easy to win.
The culprit is the otherwise attractive plant called Japanese knotweed. The Environment Agency says it’s “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”. Once this “beast from the east” takes root in a property, it can quickly cause one headache after another. It’s not just that it grows at such a rapid rate that it can quickly overwhelm garden areas. This is one “superweed” has the potential to cause serious structural, financial and other damages — potentially even of your own liberty — if you don’t spring into action and tackle it the right way.
Here are three all too real impacts of Japanese knotweed on a property. They are far from rare or isolated and are happening across Britain every day, leading to all manner of mayhem.
The main difficulty with Japanese knotweed is not the enormous bushes that can appear above ground, but what’s underneath. It’s the large root system that causes all the trouble, as it grows out in every direction and sends lots of new shoots up. It’s this strong growth of rhizomes, as the roots are known, that creates many dilemmas for property owners. As they expand ever further, the roots can exploit cracks in walls, growing into them and eventually destroying the area as they expand. As they seek out moisture, the roots can also disrupt water pipes and other underground services. Plus, they have been known to shoot right up through floorboards in a home, or even the asphalt in driveways.
According to a recent survey by the Crop Protection Association, homeowners in the UK typically spend around £1,800 trying to get rid of Japanese knotweed on their properties. The hefty figure can leap up to £4,000 for some, however, meaning this is one almighty weed that can also punch a severe dent in your bank balance. But that’s small change when you consider what Japanese knotweed can do to the overall value of a property — its presence can mean homes can lose up to half their value, or even be unsellable.
Trouble with the Law
There’s no end to the nightmare that is Japanese knotweed when you consider the legal implications of not dealing with it properly. Allowing it to spread onto neighbouring properties could result in an anti-social behaviour order being issued — and a hefty fine. That’s because the government says it has “the ability to spread and pose serious threats to biodiversity, the economy and human health”. Not disposing of it properly, once it’s removed from a property, could result in prosecution.
The good news amid all this Japanese knotweed property gloom is there is a real and effective solution: bringing in a specialist eradication firm that will use powerful herbicides that are not available to the public to kill off the troublesome root network. It can take at least two growing seasons, though, and if time is an issue, a dig-out of the plant can be done in a matter of days.
The best Japanese knotweed eradication companies operating in the UK today provide residential and commercial customers with an insurance-backed guarantee for their work — giving them much-needed peace of mind that their battle with this brutal plant is finally over.