Japanese Knotweed – a vendor’s and landlord’s curse
Growing up to 20 centimetres a day and listed in the Anti-Social, Crime and Policy Act, Japanese Knotweed can have serious implications for your property. Not only can this plant devalue your home, whether you’re a vendor or landlord you have a legal responsibility to ensure it is managed properly and does not spread to your neighbour’s garden or land. But what is Japanese Knotweed, and how can you get rid of it?
What is Japanese Knotweed, and how can you spot it?
As the name suggests, Japanese Knotweed is not native to Britain. It is an invasive and fast-spreading plant that can cause damage to anything in its path. Unlike in its native home in the Far East, there are no insects in the UK that limit the spread of Japanese Knotweed, allowing it to grow out of control if left unchecked. Due to the devastation this plant can cause, the Environment Agency has described it as, “Indisputably the UK’s most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant”
Japanese Knotweed is distinguishable by its tall, purple-speckled, bamboo-like cane stems and shovel-shaped leaves. Despite being an ornamental plant, it is now an infamous weed that dies back in the winter, but regrows each year at a fast rate.
How does it affect vendors and landlords?
As a fast-growing invasive plant, Japanese Knotweed can quickly take over gardens and displace native plant species, and its extensive underground root system can cause damage to pathways, drains, and other nearby structures. This in its own right is a cause for concern for landlords and vendors, and can often deter lenders and insurers, who may consider it to be a risk.
However, the biggest issue is that it’s notoriously difficult to eradicate, and many DIY methods do not work. If you buy a property that has Japanese Knotweed, it is your responsibility to control it and prevent the spread, unless it has encroached from a neighbouring garden.
How to you get rid of it?
Removing Knotweed is not as simple as just digging it up and burning it, as the roots can grow very deep, and leaving even just a small part can lead to regrowth. Because it is an invasive plant, the waste must also be disposed of at specific sites.
A better option is to use approved chemical herbicides sprayed directly onto the plant. However, be warned that off-the-shelf treatments often just cause the underground rhizome roots to lie dormant, and it can take up to 3 years to destroy these rhizomes fully and prevent further regrowth.
To eradicate Japanese Knotweed, seek the help and expertise of Property Care Association registered invasive weed control professionals, who can offer a guarantee in case of regrowth. This option is more costly at the start, but we would highly recommend it, as lenders and insurance companies are more likely to approve applications if this has been done.
Finding Japanese Knotweed may be a curse, but if you call in the professionals it can be handled swiftly and prevented from returning. For more advice on what else can devalue your property, call Knights Property Services.
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