Thoughts and news about invasive weeds and The Knotweed Company
Japanese knotweed news 2016 job vacancy Friday 23rd December 2016
Another year has passed, another season treating Japanese knotweed....and other invasive weeds of course!
I’ve been working exclusively with invasive weeds for at least eleven years now, but have been treating weeds since the early 1980s – which is a very long time! During this time, I have seen not only the usual invasive weeds continue to spread, but also new invasive species are arriving all the time. Some of these are small but can have major consequences – for instance look at the Killer shrimp or the Asian Hornet and their effects on the ecosystem. Plants are however often overlooked, but when you see a single area of Japanese knotweed covering over 10,000m2 (one plant!) than you realise what the scale of the problem is.
This season has been an interesting one (again) for Japanese knotweed. The warm winter (2015/16) enabled the knotweed to grow throughout much of the winter months, only for a cold spring to delay normal growth patterns by between 4-6 weeks. The summer and autumn were more normal by comparison and most knotweed stands have senesced for the winter now.
The winter period for us is usually a time when staff training and development can take place. This is no exception and we have several in house training days all planned and arranged. We have quite a lot of winter works to complete already arranged and hope to keep busy until the knotweed starts growing again – usually April!
For anyone interested in working with Japanese knotweed, we are looking to recruit a trainee Surveyor/estimator to be based at our Daventry offices in the New Year – CVs to be emailed to me please at email@example.com We offer a comprehensive training package and competitive salary and benefits. The right candidate will learn all about the process of treating Japanese knotweed including pesticide application, surveying and management. A full driving licence is essential, as is a good standard of written and spoken English.
Japanese knotweed Bohemica and the PCA Thursday 8th December 2016
The Knotweed Company is a proud member of the PCA’s Invasive Weed Group and have always offered a great deal of support in the Invasive Weed Group and have heavily contributed to the development and running of both the surveyor and technician training and examination qualifications. We employ four qualified Surveyors and all our operational staff either hold the Surveyor or the Technician qualification.
We recently attended the PCA’s annual conference on invasive weeds, which had many excellent presentations and I have to say that I learnt something from every speaker! It is excellent to see presentations on new and old subjects, and also very importantly we are seeing the release of scientific trials on Japanese knotweed – I think that this is the first time we have seen the results of a large field experiment being released – all credit to those involved.
We were very interested to learn that the Bohemica hybrid may have a different Chromosome count depending on its parentage. Bohemica is a hybrid caused by the hybridisation of Giant knotweed and either compact Japanese knotweed or Japanese knotweed. We are currently seeing a number of sites with Bohemica, and these appear to be mainly within an area which may be defined as having its corners in Oxford, Bletchley, Bicester and Aylesbury. We have now identified more Bohemica in this area than Japanese knotweed!
The Bohemica hybrid requires treatment in slightly differing ways to Japanese knotweed and is often a more difficult plant to kill using herbicides, as it is very persistent and quite resistant to the herbicides that are now available to us. We are able to utilise our knowledge of this plant (going back more than 10 years now) and can modify our programmes to take advantage of the plant’s weaknesses.
Japanese knotweed autumn treatment window Tuesday 18th October 2016
If you have Japanese knotweed, than you only have a very limited time to get the autumn treatment on, before the winter frosts kill the plant and render treatment far less effective or even pointless. This is the most critical time of year to treat Japanese knotweed and the most effective.
I issue this warning every year, some years, we don’t get an early hard frost and (in the South of England and Wales and urban areas generally) can keep treating until mid-November, but this is not guaranteed by any means!
At the moment, all our technicians and surveyors, are out inspecting and treating the many sites that we have to treat. We aim to have all sites completed by the end of the season, but still have room in our schedules for a few more sites. If you need your Japanese knotweed treating than contact us without delay.
Japanese knotweed honey Thursday 8th September 2016
I suspect that I am the one of a very small group of people who both keep bees and specialise in the control and eradication of invasive plants. For most of the year, these different activities don’t meet, but when Japanese knotweed flowers, bees will work the flowers collecting the nectar and make honey from it. Fairly obviously as we only have a female clone of Japanese knotweed in the British Isles, and don’t have a male population, the flowers do not contain pollen. If anyone sees bees collecting pollen from Japanese knotweed, then the Environment Agency would want to know!
The year has been speeding by, every year is different and the same, it is always a mad rush at this time of year to get all the programmed treatments done in good time, before frosts end the spraying season (usually around the End of October to late November). This year has been different in that we had a very late start to the year, as the Japanese knotweed did not start growing until early to mid-May 2016, however this is no guide to when we can expect the first frosts this year.
My advice to anyone who has a Japanese knotweed and needs advice, a survey or a treatment plan in place, is to call or email us and we will do our best to ensure that you get the initial treatment in place as soon as possible.
Japanese knotweed – large and very large stands near water Thursday 30th June 2016
Japanese knotweed can grow in virtually any environment in the British Isles. I have seen it growing in urban, suburban and rural areas. I have found it on coastal moorland and in salt marshes, in cemeteries, gardens, and Nature Reserves. However it also is frequently found in bankside situations, where it outcompetes all other vegetation and establishes large monocultures of little or no environmental use to our ecosystem. It is no exaggeration to say that some of these stands (which are only one plant, as all the rhizomes may well be linked!) cover areas in excess of one hectare (10,000m²) – which is quite a sight!
We have considerable experience of treating these very large areas of Japanese knotweed, indeed on one site, we have been treating a number of stands totalling 5 hectares for some years now, as well as smaller stands on other sites covering thousands of square metres. However stands near water will also need permission from the relevant Environment Agency (e.g. Natural Resources Wales, The Environment Agency, etc.) before an appropriate herbicide can be applied, as well as a suitable way of applying the herbicide to ensure that it is done safely and effectively. We can and do all of this work, including the application of licences to treat knotweed in waterside locations.
These large stands of Japanese knotweed are generally speaking dead space for much of the ecosystem. Few other plants (if any!) will be found within a dense knotweed stand and very few insects or other wildlife will feed on knotweed, so it can be a serious loss to biodiversity. When working in these areas, we may see woodlice which feed on the decaying organic matter and possibly a few birds may nest in these areas (but not feed) and possibly some burrowing animals will use it as cover. Bees will feed on the nectar in season, but that is (by and large) it. The re-vegetation of these areas following herbicide treatment, is usually interesting, with a number of plants moving in to take advantage of the open environment. These may typically include bramble (providing nectar and pollen for bees, as well as blackberries for birds, etc), woody species and other beneficial species. There is of course a risk that other invasive species may move in and need controlling, but this can be dealt with as part of the overall management of the area.
Japanese knotweed – PCA Certificated Surveyors Monday 6th June 2016
Earlier this year, I sat the examination to become a Certificated Surveyor in Japanese knotweed with the Property Care Association and I was very pleased to be told the other week, that I had passed this examination.
We now have fully Certificated Surveyors covering all of England and Wales; so if you are needing to have a Survey about your Japanese knotweed, make sure that your surveyor is properly qualified.
The Japanese knotweed season is now well under way and our technicians are busy on their rounds doing the necessary treatments. Sharon is now working in new residential quotations for surveys and herbicide programmes and is contactable on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Japanese knotweed – Superknotweed! Friday 20th May 2016
Japanese knotweed is certainly making rapid growth now. Our technicians have reported stems in excess of 2m on some sites on the South Coast and in London.
I have been discussing stem injection for Japanese knotweed with a number of people recently. Now this is a good technique, and we have been doing this for over 10 years now, but there is certainly a lot of misunderstanding about it as a technique. We have had people think that it is a ‘one hit wonder’, i.e. inject it once and the knotweed is dead (no it isn’t) and others thinking that we can inject tiny plants (not effectively).
The reality of stem injection is that if used incorrectly can easily put knotweed into a dormant state for 1-3 years or so – so it looks great, until it starts to re-grow… Additionally no-one can effectively inject small shoots of knotweed, if you try than the stem (which will not have hardened) will simply collapse and the chemical will be lost. To date I have not found that anything is better than a correct application through a conventional knapsack sprayer, but I emphasise it must be done correctly!
Japanese knotweed the fastest plant Tuesday 10th May 2016
This week I have already seen Japanese knotweed at a height of 1.4m in Coventry and our surveyors are reporting seeing growth all around the country. We know that knotweed in Coventry was generally speaking not growing until three weeks ago, so this would mean a growth spurt of 46cm (18 inches) a week for this particular plant or a daily average of 6.6cm a day…
Japanese knotweed can grow as fast as this, because (like many other plants), it stores food and water from previous years in specialist storage organs. In knotweed these are the plants rhizomes. This gives knotweed a massive competitive advantage, as each spring it will rapidly outcompete any other plant and this is one of the many factors that enables it to dominate the local environment.
To update people on our BT installation, sadly when the engineer arrived on Friday to do the necessary, he had been given the wrong installation order... cue another 42 minutes of my talking to BT. I very much hope that BT can now speedily resolve this and provide us with a satisfactory solution in a reasonable period of time!
Japanese knotweed growing now Thursday 5th May 2016
The recent (very welcome) warmer weather has encouraged the Japanese knotweed to start growing very quickly. We may now expect to see previously untreated knotweed growing at a rate of a foot a week (sometimes more!).
Already we have been receiving photographs from our Surveying team and from customers, showing us the typical asparagus like shoots of up to 1m in length from many parts of the country.
Those people that read my last blog concerning customer service, may be interested to know that BT contacted us within 30 minutes of the blog going live on our website and the correct installation of the hunt group is now scheduled for tomorrow morning. It has all been quite a saga and we hope to be able to report that the hunt system is actually working in our next blog.
Customer service, Japanese knotweed and BT Thursday 21st April 2016
From time to time, I get a reminder of what good customer service is all about and I reflect on this and how the experience can be used in our business.
My recent experience (and sadly it is on-going) is with the business arm of British Telecommunications Plc (BT). We needed additional phone lines installing and these were requested to be part of a hunt group. So far so simple! However BT (and they have admitted this to me) messed up our order, and so we ended up with new lines (but not the right type) and therefore not part of a hunt group.
Now anyone can make a simple mistake, and the correction of BT’s mistake should be (I thought) a simple matter. Simply re-issue the correct works order and amend the lines, installing the hunt group. However BT apparently does not do simple. In the last week, I have spoken to nearly 10 different people (all pleasant and helpful) in many different offices around the world. I have spent over 5 hours on the phone talking to these people and I have also tried webchat.
It took the 10 phone calls to establish that I needed to speak to the original Sales office. I have now done so, and so far all that has happened is that an email has been sent (by BT to BT) requesting that the original Sale person’s manager replies to my complaint and resolves this. They have 48 hours to do this or the email gets passed to their manager who has another 48 hours to respond, or it is passed to their manager who has another 48 hours and so on… you get the picture!
In the meantime, the customer, me, is left hanging with no communications from BT and no idea at all of when (or if) we shall receive our original order.
So this leads me to reflect on good Customer Service and how we can use this experience to improve our offering. I can give you one very good reason why we can always do better than this; whoever you speak to in our office will either have the authority to directly resolve any issues, queries or concerns or you will be passed to someone that can. Same phone call/email passed directly to people that can act. If exceptionally this can’t happen, you will be called back ASAP. I appreciate that a large multinational organisation can’t act in this way, but they should be able to do better than this perpetual buck passing!
Properly qualified Japanese knotweed surveyor? Monday 11th April 2016
The recent cold weather is meaning that we are seeing a very slow emergence of Japanese knotweed this spring. So far we have seen a good deal of budding knotweed and one small area with a few shoots over 2 feet high. However all it needs is a few warmer days and nights and we will see full on growth emerging at approximately a foot a week.
When appointing a company to do professional surveys of your invasive weeds, it is important to ensure that not only the company is a member of Property Care Association |(PCA), but also that the Surveyor has passed the PCA’s Certificated Surveyor examination in Japanese knotweed. The Knotweed Company already has three certificated Surveyors and a fourth individual has just taken their examination. As such we are amongst the market leaders (if not the market leader) in terms of qualified surveyors. So when appointing your surveyor, ask about their personal qualifications, they should hold the CSJK (Certificated Surveyor of Japanese knotweed.
In addition to our having a number of qualified invasive weed surveyors, we also provide two examiners to the Property Care Association for this examination. You can therefore be sure that you are getting experienced and qualified people when speaking to us!
Are aliens living in your garden? Wednesday 17th February 2016
I sometimes wonder, which invasive alien species causes the most damage to the British Isles. Obviously there are the usual suspects: Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan Balsam, New Zealand pygmyweed, Rhododendron, large bindweed, turkey oak, tree of heaven, Spanish bluebells, etc, but these are all plants; there are of course invasive animals, which cause real and significant harm to our environment, and these include Grey Squirrels, American mink, Killer Shrimp, White clawed crayfish, signal crayfish, rabbits, brown rat and many, many more!
As a beekeeper, I am of course aware of the many threats to bee health, that are out there. These include Asian Hornets (now present in France and rapidly spreading), Small Hive beetles (present in Italy) and of course the biggest invasive alien of all (as far as bees in this country are concerned) in threat if not size the varroa mite. These mites are small, but are breed rapidly in the hive and spread viruses amongst the bees, untreated they can and do kill whole hives.
So today’s blog is not about towering alien plants, or even obvious invasive animals moving into our towns and countryside, it is not about what is obvious (but is too often ignored), it is about the very real influence that all invasive aliens present to us.
I would suggest that anyone interested in this topic, read the very interesting and comprehensive ‘Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain’ authored by Max Wade, Olaf Boy and Helen Roy, it was first published last year and is an excellent guide to the very many different plants and animals that have invaded the British Isles, you may be surprised at some of the entries!
The holly and the knotweed? Training day. Monday 1st February 2016
It is a strange season – we are finding more Japanese knotweed growing in many towns and cities across England and Wales. We don’t remember ever seeing growth before March (and sometimes April), but this year the knotweed has been newly sprouting since before Christmas.
In some parts of the world, the very same clone of Japanese knotweed that we have, grows as an evergreen, never being killed by frost and although this year, we have experienced some frosts, these have only knocked it back and in towns and cities in sheltered areas, it is re-shooting quite quickly.
As readers of this blog may know, we maintain a well-trained and highly experienced team of surveyors, as part of this, we recently held an internal training day, which included stem injector maintenance and servicing; knapsack maintenance and servicing; surveying techniques and updates and the ever popular Health and Safety modules! More information about this day can be seen on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheKnotweedCompany/
The Knotweed Company – selling a property or buying one with Japanese knotweed Friday 15th January 2016
We heard today of an interesting situation. A purchaser had bought a property and the seller had failed to declare (probably innocently) the presence of Japanese knotweed in the rear garden and in an adjoining garden.
This situation is not unique, we come across this situation quite frequently. However in this case it meant a substantial loss for the purchaser as they wished to extend the property and do other works, which the knotweed would impact on.
uniquely in our experience, the parties have agreed to rescission. Now rescission is a legal term, which means the cancelling of a contract, with all parties returning to the position that they were in (in so far as this is possible). So the house purchase is being reversed or unmade.
The key thing to be aware of here, is that a house sale, once completed, can legally be unmade due to the presence of an undeclared Japanese knotweed infestation. Our advice to sellers, remains unchanged – be honest about the presence of Japanese knotweed and be proactive in your treatment – i.e. get a reputable PCA approved contractor to start works as soon as you can – do not wait until the last minute or worse fail to declare it!
The Knotweed Company – new shoots, new resolutions and news about Japanese knotweed Thursday 7th January 2016
At this time of year, it is customary to make a new resolution, mine is to write more regular blogs on our website! Last year, I didn’t write as many blogs as I’d have like to have done, I’m afraid that work pressures contributed!
We have noticed new shoots of Japanese knotweed emerging in many locations both in December and now in January. This must be a new record for earliest knotweed in any year. We expect that these shoots will be killed by the imminent cold weather in the next week.
Last year was an excellent year for us, we not only moved to new premises, but also recruited several excellent people (and lost none!). We hope to continue with this growth. A number of staff have continued with their professional development and one of our technicians, Paul Hamilton, has now passed the Property Care Association’s Invasive Weed Technician’s course – well done Paul!
Giant hogweed in the news. Blisters, burns, reasons to have it treated Tuesday 14th July 2015
Any Prog Rock fans out there? If so, you may remember a Genesis album called “Nursery Cryme” which featured a song called “The Return of the Giant Hogweed”. Back in the 1970’s, such warnings about Giant hogweed were common. In the intervening 30-odd years these warnings have dwindled away, leaving members of the public unaware of what Giant hogweed is or the dangers it causes.
Japanese knotweed is the invasive plant grabbing the media headlines today, mainly because of its relatively recent impact on the ability of members of the public to sell or re-mortgage their houses. This has led to many sexy, sensationalised and exaggerated headlines that many can get behind because it hits people where it really hurts – in their wallet.
In health terms though, Japanese knotweed is harmless, and as such can be deemed ‘Britain’s most inconvenient plant’. By contrast, Giant hogweed is a strong contender for the title of ‘Britain’s most dangerous plant’. Similar in basic appearance to other less harmful members of the parsley family (such as Cow parsley, Wild angelica, Hemlock, Sweet cicely and standard Hogweed), what sets Giant hogweed apart is the sheer scale. Leaves are huge and the flat umbrella-like flower heads can grow larger than the size of your head.
Any bare skin that comes into contact with the leaves, the stems or the sap will become over-sensitive to ultra-violet light. This means that any workers clearing Giant hogweed without proper protection will find large watery blisters and burns developing on the affected areas 15-20 hours following contact. These areas can remain UV-sensitive for years – or even life – meaning that any victims of Giant hogweed will need to limit their exposure to the sun in the future if they do not want the painful burns to reoccur. If any of the sap gets into the eyes (and it can be transferred from the hands to the face by simple touch) then temporary blindness can occur. In some extreme cases, permanent blindness can result. At the point of contact, the harmful elements of Giant hogweed do not cause any irritation, so it is only hours afterwards that the true extent becomes evident. By this time, the affected person has already absorbed several hours of UV and it is too late to do anything about it.
Whilst not as widespread as Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed is present in sufficient quantities around the UK to cause a significant danger to health. In the last week, stories have broken in the media of two young teenage boys in Bolton, five children in Manchester and a ten-year old girl near Loch Lomond all being seriously affected by burns and blisters after coming into contact with Giant hogweed. As well as the pronounced effect in can have on the victims, allowing Giant hogweed to flourish in public access land is simply a lawsuit waiting to happen.
If you come across any Giant hogweed do not touch it. Inform the landowner and encourage them to employ a specialist who can eradicate it. If you do come into contact with Giant hogweed, wash the affected parts as quickly as possible and seek medical assistance.
Please contact Jim Glaister email@example.com for more information about Giant hogweed.
Japanese knotweed – new shoots and situations vacant in Daventry Wednesday 8th April 2015
We have seen Japanese knotweed shoots in sheltered areas of Southern England for some time now. However in the last few days we are seeing new growth all over the country, yesterday I was in Lincolnshire and found numerous shoots on several sites. One of our technicians also reported finding new shoots in Derbyshire and Lancashire yesterday.
It is still only the early signs of growth for this season and this growth could be killed by a late frost, however we would expect to see the usual spring surge of growth in the next few weeks, when the knotweed will grow at the rate of a foot a week – sometimes more!
We have kept busy throughout the quiet season and are now looking to recruit new members of staff to fill several positions in the company, including an administrator an estimator and a technician – all based at our new Daventry offices. Please contact Brian Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, if you should be interested in applying.
The Knotweed Company – employing a qualified and professional workforce Wednesday 11th February 2015
The Knotweed Company has recently put a number of its staff onto the Property Care Association’s (PCA) training and examination for Certificated Surveyor in Japanese knotweed.
We are very pleased to announce that all three of our candidates, have passed this prestigious examination. One of our candidate’s, Jim Glaister, achieved the first ever Distinction in this examination, with our other candidates, Paul Copper and Kevin Gilderson passing the examination.
The Knotweed Company has been working with the PCA to develop and instigate this qualification – the first formal examination which tests a candidate’s professional knowledge and ability in this field and so we are very pleased with our candidates results.
This result means that three out of only twelve people in the country (in total) to date that have passed this examination, are employed by The Knotweed Company. So if you want to speak to qualified and competent people, call us!
Japanese knotweed – The Knotweed Company in the winter Tuesday 27th January 2015
At this time of year, most Japanese knotweed will have died back and has stored all their energy in the underground rhizome system. All this energy will be available to the plant, as soon as the weather warms up again and growth starts – hence the amazing capacity of the plant to grow both quickly and in adverse conditions.
Here at The Knotweed Company, we’re not able to rest quietly and wait for the weather to warm up! Instead we are carrying out essential winter works – clearing stands of old canes and other vegetation to allow us better access (and hence more effective treatment) in the coming season. We are also working on several construction sites, advising and managing excavation works for clients. In addition to that we are carrying out surveys and verification visits for clients.
We are also updating staff’s training needs and checking internal procedures, etc, so ensuring that we are able to continue to offer a truly professional service to all our clients.
Japanese knotweed – new legislation and regulation Wednesday 19th November 2014
The Home Office has recently produced new guidance which may lead to fines to people and organisations that fail to deal with their Japanese knotweed. This has led to considerable media excitement and we’ve already been on air this morning on our local BBC Radio Northampton speaking to Stuart Linnell.
However, the new guidelines place the responsibility for the interpretation and enforcement of this onto the Local Authorities and implicit in the guidelines is a local interpretation of what constitutes a trigger for action, so enforcement may be patchy at best.
It is ironic that the Government is in the process of bringing out Species Control Orders at this time, which is new legislation to enforce the control of invasive species and could have been used to enforce problems with Japanese knotweed, but has explicitly (at the time of writing) excluded Japanese knotweed from this Act.
Another successful appearance by Jim Glaister on BBC Radio Solent, this time on the Saturday morning show with Sasha Twining. Jim was one of three guests invited to look at and comment on the days’ papers and then he was on his own as the ‘expert of the day' Monday 13th October 2014
Another successful appearance by Jim Glaister on BBC Radio Solent, this time on the Saturday morning show with Sasha Twining. Jim was one of three guests invited to look at and comment on the days’ papers and then he was on his own as the ‘expert of the day’ and took a phone-in on invasive weeds.
To start proceedings Jim explained how he got into the profession and what a ‘typical’ (although there never really is a ‘typical’) work week may include. He also discussed the issue of Japanese knotweed and mortgages and the benefits of herbicide treatment versus the expensive and often difficult alternative of excavation.
The phone-in covered several issues. Field horsetail (another deep-rooted weed with fast growing rhizomes) was discussed as well as the thorny issue of Japanese knotweed growing on adjacent land. In particular, Jim outlined the failings of current legislation and how landowners do not have a legal obligation to deal with Japanese knotweed if it isn’t encroaching onto neighbouring land and isn’t causing any other problems. Also covered in the phone-in was how burning Japanese knotweed can sometimes control the spread but isn’t a means of eradication and has to be done very carefully.
Bamboo was also discussed as Jim gave advice to one caller who had recently planted it in her garden as a screen and was unaware of the potential problems with rhizome spread.
Jim got to talk about one of his pet subjects again – the dangers of Giant Hogweed and just before he left got in a plug for his personal endeavours at Winchester’s Chesil Theatre!
Take a listen to the whole phone-in by clicking the link below which is only available until first thing on the 18th of October
Getting rid of Japanese knotweed! Wednesday 20th August 2014
There is no one answer to this and the initial response is to ask more questions, such as:
Are you looking for complete Japanese knotweed eradication or do you merely require the knotweed to be controlled?
Where is the knotweed?
Is it easily accessed or is it growing around or within a structure?
If the latter, can that structure be removed or must it remain intact?
Is the Japanese knotweed growing close to a watercourse?
Is all of the knotweed within the confines of your land?
How much time do you have available for the Japanese knotweed removal to be completed?
These (and others) are all questions our surveyors would seek to answer before providing any kind of recommendations. The simple fact is there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to the Japanese knotweed problem and you should always be wary of anyone offering you a programme of works without sufficient knowledge of your own individual site. Although many sites will be suitable for one particular method of treatment, some will require a combination of more than one.
Timescales and budget are often the keys to what kind of treatment is recommended. There is a very simple truism about Japanese knotweed treatment that states the more time you have available for treatment, the more options you will have available and the less money it will cost you. This is why early identification is absolutely crucial to successful and cost-effective Japanese knotweed removal. Last minute will cost you plenty.
There are several forms of Japanese knotweed treatment, but at either extent of the treatment scale can be found two techniques: excavation and chemical treatment. Excavation is quick but costly, while the treatment of Japanese knotweed using specialist herbicides can take years to achieve lasting results. The best treatment method to use on your site will depend entirely on the answers given to the above questions. All treatment methods have their pros and cons, but if you do not choose the method most suitable for your timescale and the knotweed location you may be about to spend more money than you need to.
If in doubt call us to discuss your individual needs.
Invasive weeds on the air! Monday 7th July 2014
As Jim was so successful last week on the Alex Dyke BBC Radio Solent show, he was called back to do a phone in to discuss and offer advice on invasive species – those sometimes misunderstood ‘bullies’ of the plant world.
Although all may not warrant the tag of ‘bully’, some of them certainly command a lot of respect. What was evidently clear from the number of enquiries on-air is that bamboo is becoming increasingly troublesome and many people who plant it sadly do not then fulfil their responsibility to control it. This leads to it spreading across boundaries and becoming a problem. The whole phone-in was given a somewhat surreal twist when, after bumping into Charlie Dimmock in reception on his way in, Jim then went on to mention the TV programme ‘Ground Force’ as one of those accountable for the spread of bamboo! Other invasive species discussed were Horsetail, Ivy, Himalayan Balsam and Jim’s soapbox subject Giant Hogweed – a plant that was familiar to school children in the 70’s and 80’s (I remember being scared by the public information films they showed us at school) but doesn’t seem to be talked about now.
After giving out more valuable advice it was suggested that Jim may be asked back again – so watch this space!
You can listen to the phone-in by following this link which is available until the 9th of July (Jim’s bit starts around 2hrs 8mins in).
Japanese knotweed radio show Saturday 28th June 2014
Our regional manager joined Alex Dyke on BBC Radio Solent today to debunk some of the common misconceptions associated with Japanese knotweed, and, as it turns out, to offer some advice about bamboo too!
Anyone who’s listened to Alex Dyke will know his style of presenting is ‘straight-talking’ with some fun thrown in, and after playing the music from ‘The Day Of The Triffids’ and then throwing a completely made-up story at Jim to discredit, it was clear this interview would be no different!
Jim was advised off-air that Alex likes people who challenge him and tell it like it is – so that’s what Jim did and the two of them made quite an entertaining double act! Along with the humour however, the serious issues of how Japanese knotweed grows and spreads, how it was introduced to this country and how it should be dealt with were all talked about in the interview.
Jim then found himself offering advice on bamboo in a live phone-in and has been asked to return for more of the same next week. So, ‘Big Jim the knotweed man’ will be live on air again taking calls on knotweed and possibly on his soapbox subject Giant hogweed. Like Alex Dyke said – “Sounds like a job for the professionals”
You can listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer until July 3rd by following this link:
Japanese knotweed – snakes in the undergrowth Tuesday 15th April 2014
I was at a local garden centre yesterday and was looking at a stand of Japanese knotweed (much to my wife’s disgust) at the edge of the car park, when I spotted a snake sunning itself at the edge of the car park (but still in the knotweed stand). It was a lively little thing and one that I knew I didn’t recognise. I took a photograph and it was a common Garter Snake, which presumably had escaped from the Garden centre’s Reptile House (or perhaps was released by a customer). It had over wintered and was obviously quite healthy.
So one invasive alien species was harbouring another... will Garter Snakes become yet another invasive species? Certainly in their home of North America they are found in most of the USA including Alaska, so it is difficult to see why they shouldn’t establish in the British Isles.
I did report this to the Garden Centre staff who will presumably try to re-capture the snake, but my concern is how often is this scenario being repeated across the British Isles? A Garter Snake may be harmless to humans, but we cannot know what impact it would have on the environment if they established in the wild in the British Isles.
Japanese knotweed – is it growing yet? Thursday 20th March 2014
Japanese knotweed is an herbaceous perennial, each winter the above ground growth is usually killed off by frosts and the plant will re-emerge in the spring. At the moment, the knotweed (where it has not been treated) will be forming new buds and when the temperatures are right it will start to grow – at a rate of a foot a week! With predicted colder weather to come in the next week (and even the possibility of frosts) the knotweed will not be emerging for a few weeks, but if this mild weather continues, we can expect to see growth emerging in a number of locations from early April – possibly sooner than that in sheltered areas.
Assuming an early spring, we might see Japanese knotweed growth in sheltered areas (such as London, Bristol, Southampton, Kent, etc) becoming quite substantial by late April or early May. We are already seeing signs that the knotweed stems from the 2013 season were not completely killed off and some old stems are developing growth buds – it should be an interesting season!
Japanese knotweed –new growth, bamboo problems and treatment Tuesday 18th February 2014
Japanese knotweed has mainly died down over this winter period, however in some sheltered spots (including London, Bristol and Southern Wales) the knotweed may have continued to grow throughout the winter period and certainly in the Southern parts of England and Wales new buds have already formed – we are expecting (if we don’t have a cold spell) to see early knotweed growth this year.
We are currently completing works to our clients sites in respect of winter stem clearance for knotweed, we are also however stem injecting bamboo plants for clients and we are finding more problems arising with invasive bamboos – which like Japanese knotweed rapidly spreads through rhizomes (when established) and can cause problems with hard surfaces.
Japanese knotweed house mortgage 2014 Friday 3rd January 2014
Another year has passed and Japanese knotweed continues to spread – faster than it is being controlled! To take my own village as an example, I know of at least 10 individual stands of knotweed, scattered around the village – it is quite possible that there are more stands in back gardens, not known to me. Only one of these stands is being treated professionally – the others are either being treated (occasionally) by the owners or (more normally) not being treated at all. Most of these are in domestic gardens (60%), with the remainder being on commercial premises or public open space. I have discussed the knotweed with a few residents and they do not want it treated – regarding the knotweed as either a minor issue or something that they like and want to keep!
Inevitably, untreated stands will spread and lead to further outbreaks of Japanese knotweed in our local area! Our local stands (mainly small at the moment) typically directly affect 2-3 properties each, so the properties in the village that are affected is around 25 (out of approximately 1200 properties – so approximately 2% of houses are directly affected, with (assuming a 25m radius from the affected areas) another 8% being ‘at risk’ of having an infestation.
Our village is however very lightly affected indeed. We do not live in an area notorious for Japanese knotweed and I would like to ensure that this never happens! Other communities however have a much higher percentage of properties directly affected. I know of some villages and towns, where the percentage of properties directly affected by knotweed (with it growing in their gardens) is higher than 50%, in some streets, 100% of all properties are directly affected by knotweed.
Treating these areas is difficult, as it is necessary to obtain consents and permissions from every landowner – and enforcing their agreement is a difficult, complex, expensive and time consuming affair – at least it is in England and Wales! Scotland by contrast has taken a different approach and it is possible for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to force landowners to treat their knotweed in a proper manner (where voluntary agreements have failed). We need similar legislation in this part of the United Kingdom as well, too often we see cases where a neighbour will not permit their knotweed to be treated – thereby losing house sales or impacting on values. My wish for 2014 is for new Japanese knotweed legislation to cover England and Wales, firstly to encourage a voluntary agreement and secondly to permit a Government body to enforce treatment where necessary.
Japanese knotweed in 2013 Friday 20th December 2013
The Knotweed Company will be closed for the Christmas break from Friday 20th December (evening), re-opening on Thursday 2nd January 2014. We hope that this will not cause any inconvenience to any of our customers or suppliers and look forward to speaking to you in 2014.
The last year has been a time of growth and change for us. We joined the Property Care Association and our Managing Director regularly attends the Invasive Weed Group meetings. Jim Glaister our Regional Manager in the South has been a real asset to the company and brings a great depth of knowledge and expertise – all based on his many years of experience with Japanese knotweed and other invasive weeds.
We are looking forward to 2014 and although we can (inevitably!) expect a few ups and downs during the year, are confident that we can continue to grow and develop the company and continue to offer professional services at an affordable price.
Japanese knotweed – mortgages and mortgage problems Monday 9th December 2013
Most Japanese knotweed infestations will not cause any structural issues to existing buildings. The horrors that may be found on the internet of knotweed growing through a building, are typically found when a building has been constructed over an existing area of Japanese knotweed. However other structures (for example retaining walls, etc) are more vulnerable to new knotweed infestations and serious structural damage can result.
The Knotweed Company not only has several decades of experience to call upon, it is also a member of the Invasive Weeds Group of the Property Care Association. As such it is able to meet and even to exceed the requirements that a mortgage company may require, before lending on a property.
We are pleased to report the following from Barclays Bank:
”Following colleague feedback and RICS guidance Japanese Knotweed has been classified into four categories and Barclays policy will depend on which category any identified case falls into.
Category 1 and 2 is where Japanese Knotweed is on neighbouring property only, and is more than 7 metres from the main building, garage and/or permanent out building.
Category 3 and 4 is where it is within 7 metres of the main building, garage or permanent outbuildings or present on the property and causing damage to paths, fences, boundary walls.
If it falls into category 1 and 2 then the surveyor must report this in the valuation but no further action is required. If it is category 3 or 4 then further investigation is required undertaken by a Property Care Association registered firm. All recommended remedial works must be undertaken and covered by an insurance backed guarantee. The guarantee must be for a minimum of 10 years.”
The Knotweed Company is pleased to be able to report that as they are able to meet with the criteria laid down by Barclays Bank.
The Property Care Association (PCA) also has reported that Santander has a similar policy to Barclays Bank regarding Japanese knotweed. Other lenders are also considering their policies – in most cases a PCA accredited contractor will be required to comply with the mortgage companies requirements.
Something different! Tuesday 19th November 2013
I thought that a non-weed blog would be a change. So I’ve decided to write about, our Regional Manager, Jim Glaister’s hobby, which is... making films. Jim writes and directs short films, and the latest project, is a short film, called ‘Always’ which is available to see on Youtube, it is a Burning Barn Production or you can follow this link http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT1nyI8uxhzZ0PckoNMVNlA . ‘Always’ has just won a prize at the Winchester Short Film Festival and is well worth a watch!
Japanese knotweed – your treatment window for 2013 is ending soon! Thursday 3rd October 2013
Hopefully most people are aware of the seasonal nature of Japanese knotweed spray treatments. October is usually the last effective opportunity to treat knotweed, before the winter frosts kill all the surface growth. It is therefore vital that Knotweed contractors plan to do their spraying before the end of the month and that clients order their work as soon as possible. We cannot know precisely when killing frosts will make treatment pointless as this varies from site to site and from year to year.
Last year in the West Midlands, we treated two new (neighbouring) sites, one at the very end of October and one a week later. The first site had a reasonable effect and the second site had almost no effect from the treatment (we have since given the second site an additional free treatment).
Treatments made at this time are usually very effective, as the plant will take the herbicide into the rhizomes where it will continue to work through the winter. So we would urge all our readers, if you have a knotweed problem and need a quotation or have had a quotation and want to place an order, that you need to do so now.
We have already started carrying out autumn treatments, and although we have a full order book (busy, busy!) covering all areas of England and Wales, we still have treatment slots available.
PCA Accredited Contractor Herbicide Programme Wednesday 11th September 2013
The autumn period is the best time for herbicide treatments. It is a window of opportunity, which occurs after flowering, but before frost has killed the surface growth; during this period if herbicides are correctly applied to the plant, the chemical is taken down into the rhizomes. Once the herbicide is in the rhizomes, than it can work on the plant, blocking critical biochemical pathways and so weakening the plant.
This period of enhanced effectiveness will last until killing frosts cause severe damage to the canes and leaves of the knotweed, when this frost will occur is not predictable, but is typically from the end of October – in some years at some sites, good treatments may still be made into November – bit this is not reliable.
We have already started carrying out autumn treatments, and although we have a full order book covering all areas of England and Wales, we still have treatment slots available.
If you have Japanese knotweed, you should be seeking to get it treated now. Speak to the professionals about your herbicide programme – call or email The Knotweed Company today!
Japanese knotweed – 2013 Code of Practice. Wednesday 14th August 2013
The Environment Agency has released the updated Code of Practice for Japanese knotweed. This is an update of the 2006 Code and contains some excellent updates on the treatment of Japanese knotweed on development sites and also on other sites.
You can download a free copy of the code by following this link http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/wildlife/130079.aspx and scrolling down the page.
The season for working with Japanese knotweed, is currently at its peak and we continue to do our very best to ensure that all our customers continue to get the best possible service for the most reasonable price.
We offer our competitive and professional Survey and treatment services across England and Wales – call us now for a free quotation!
Our quotations are free and without obligation.
Japanese knotweed in Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent. Tuesday 2nd July 2013
Our Hampshire Office will be accepting new enquiries from Wednesday 3rd July 2013. Our new Regional Manager is Mr Jim Glaister, who will have overall responsibility for developing our business in the Southern part of England.
Jim Glaister has been dealing with Japanese knotweed and other invasive weeds since 2004. As well as writing a number of articles on Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed, he has provided a variety of presentations on the subject to environmental consultants, mortgage advisors and such organisations as RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) and Hampshire County Council. He provides CPD training on invasive weeds, especially Japanese knotweed, and is a contributor to the RICS subscription online information portal ‘isurve’.
Our new Regional office may be contacted by:
Phone: 01962 886060
Or by writing to:
The Knotweed Company Ltd, 4 Woodgreen Road, Harestock, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 6LH
We offer our competitive and professional Survey and treatment services across England and Wales – call us now for a free quotation!
Our quotations are free and without obligation.
Japanese knotweed in Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent. Friday 21st June 2013
Our new Regional Office will be opening for new enquiries from 1st July 2013. The office will service Southern England, including the Greater London area and will be based in Winchester.
We aim to continue offering a competitive & professional Japanese knotweed service in London, and to extend our services throughout Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Dorset. We’re already offering competitive prices in this area for mortgage value surveys, herbicide eradication programmes and for construction site works, so why not contact us today and discuss how we can help you?
Japanese knotweed in London and the South of England. Thursday 6th June 2013
We are very pleased to announce that our new London office will be accepting enquiries directly from the public in a few weeks time – we shall be publishing more details about this soon! Our new Regional Manager for London and the South of England is experienced in all types of Japanese knotweed problems and solutions and has many years of experience to call upon. We are confident that they will continue to keep our standards at the highest professional level and enable us to continue offering a high level of customer satisfaction.
Property Care Association Japanese knotweed survey treatment Thursday 16th May 2013
The Knotweed Company is pleased to be able to report that we have been offered membership of The Invasive Weed Control Group, which is part of The Property Care Association (PCA). Membership of the PCA is a rigorous process in which a number of key aspects of the business are reviewed and commented on. Both our existing customers and new enquirers may rest assured that The Knotweed Company will continue to offer competitive prices and that our work will be to the highest standards.
Using our regional offices in London, Manchester, Swansea and Northampton, we can cover both England and Wales, offering competitive and professional mortgage Invasive Weed surveys, herbicide programmes and other works.
Identify your knotweed – it’s growing! Monday 29th April 2013
Our surveyors have reported that in the last week, significant Japanese knotweed growth has started. In Swansea on Friday, we found new shoots of up to 18” (45cm), while in Ipswich; we found Japanese knotweed to be around 6” (15cm). While it is still early in the season, the amazing growth that Japanese knotweed can produce, could mean that some of these sites, could have 6’ (1.8m) of knotweed by the end of May...
Urban areas have many micro-climates, and some of these areas may well already have significant amounts of Japanese knotweed – especially in London, the South Coast and Bristol.
If you are unsure about what Japanese knotweed looks like at this time, you should see our Photograph Gallery. These are some excellent photographs and we will be adding more pictures to our gallery soon.
Competitive and professional Japanese knotweed services across England and Wales Wednesday 10th April 2013
We’re still looking for spring in the midlands; however last week while working on a site on London, we did see a few Japanese knotweed shoots. While it is difficult to generalise about the seasons and the effect that they have on plants, we can probably agree that this spring is late.
The urban heating effect would normally mean that by early April we would be seeing significant signs of growth – particularly in the South, the South-west and London. This year there is very little signs of the knotweed starting to grow; this is mainly due to the cold night time temperatures.
Having said that we have been having a busy time in the last few weeks and are still brush cutting (for new clients) the old knotweed stems to allow better access and treatment for this year’s growth.
We continue to offer our clients standards which automatically include working to Best Practice, we only use qualified and experienced staff for our work and offer very competitive prices – this in combination with good service standards.
For instance, we in The Knotweed Company have our own BASIS qualified advisor (for advising on pesticide use); our own in-house Health & Safety advisor (Certificate in Managing Safely from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health); we are accredited with CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety) and have years of experience in dealing with Japanese knotweed. This is not a package that many Japanese knotweed contractors can match!
Japanese knotweed problem? Call the professionals! Thursday 7th March 2013
At The Knotweed Company we continue to take Japanese knotweed seriously and are seeking to focus our efforts this year on making sure that we continue to give clients our best service possible.
Recently, we’ve carried out works on several construction sites – either removing Japanese knotweed from site altogether or creating a stockpile on site for ongoing treatment. We’ve also been completing our winter treatments (where applicable). It has been a busy winter period for us!
We are in the process of updating our website and we hope that our clients will appreciate the changes that we are making. We aim to make finding information simpler and to make it more user friendly.
We will have several announcements to make about our service in the next few weeks, so watch this space!
Buying a home? Think you’ve got a Japanese knotweed problem? Thursday 7th February 2013
We’ve recently carried out a number of surveys and reports for house buyers, as there either is, or may be, a problem with Japanese knotweed in the garden or in an adjoining property. We are experts at both finding and recording outbreaks of Japanese knotweed and prepare a suitable report (to the criteria laid out in The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyor’s Information Paper ‘Japanese knotweed and Residential Property’). This report may then be used together with your Surveyor’s report for submission to the mortgage company. We would include in the report, fully costed options for the knotweed treatment and can provide suitable documentation at the end of the treatment programme.
At the moment, no-one knows how many properties are affected by Japanese knotweed. If one used a criteria that if Japanese knotweed were within a radius of 14m from a property boundary (or within the boundary), then depending on area, the percentage of properties affected might range from 100%* to as low as 1%. However in most urban areas in England and Wales, it is likely that the percentage of properties affected could be between 10-40%. Most home owners will simply not be aware of it!
* We have seen several communities, whose infestation level might well be classified this highly.
While treating Japanese knotweed is a lengthy process (it takes several years to ensure herbicidal eradication). The main problem that is found is that it is not currently possible in England or Wales to legally enforce a person or company to treat their knotweed. Obviously this is a problem as untreated knotweed will grow straight back into the treated area! So eradication cannot be achieved. In Scotland there is now a process by which landowners may have action taken against them, if they fail to undertake suitable eradication measures against their knotweed. It is hoped that similar legislation may be introduced in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Amongst the cases that we have recently seen, is one of a terraced house with Japanese knotweed in the rear garden, the problem was, that this was only one garden out of forty properties that were affected... to ensure eradication all gardens will need treatment for a number of years and this involves identifying the owners of all forty houses and getting their agreement to pay for a suitable programme...
Normally the properties that we see aren’t as complicated as the example above. Typically the knotweed may affect 2-3 properties and by speaking to all the owners an eradication programme on the knotweed in all affected gardens can be agreed.
The Knotweed Company in 2013 Tuesday 8th January 2013
We at The Knotweed Company hope that all our customers and staff had a good break and are pleased to say that we’re back to work and keeping busy.
Japanese knotweed is currently in winter dormancy across the UK and will for the most part, not start to grow until early April or perhaps May. The spring growth depends upon the temperatures, so each year may have considerable variation. However that doesn’t mean that we can enjoy a quiet winter! Far from it, with winter stem clearance and treatments to carry out, we keep busy even in the frost and snow. The winter stem clearance takes place for some very simple reasons, these are to allow more effective herbicide treatment to take place (it prevents spray shadowing due to old stems getting in the way and hence chemical being wasted) and to prevent the old canes from acting as a litter trap and home for vermin.
We’ve already received a number of orders this year (thank you!) and are planning our on-going training to ensure that we continue to adhere to all Health and Safety requirements. This year we are planning that our construction site operatives are qualified to SSSTS (Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme), as well as holding the appropriate CSCS (Construction Site Certificate of Safety) cards. Our first operative attends the SSSTS course later this week.
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