Thoughts and news about invasive weeds and The Knotweed Company

Japanese knotweed dormancy. Friday 9th February 2018

Japanese knotweed is a funny plant and can easily enter dormancy – either wholly or partly. The reasons for it entering dormancy are not well understood, but include herbicide treatment, burial, covering with a barrier or covering with concrete. Basically anything which stops the plant from growing normally has the potential for it to enter dormancy and this dormancy may last years or even decades.

I’ve recently had a discussion with a pesticide manufacturer and we believe that we’ve identified one possible mechanism for inducing apparent dormancy in Japanese knotweed and possibly a few of the key issues that we have to deal with in treating knotweed. This discussion may lead to some experimental work being undertaken – however this will be a long project and results may take years to reliably assess. However this work needs to be done and there is a need for continued research in this area to follow on from the excellent field trials carried out by Dr Dan Jones during his studies at Swansea University.

This week, I’ve assessed a number of sites, including one in which Japanese knotweed has apparently been lying dormant for nearly 30 years. The rhizome which I examined was large (circa 80mm+ diameter) and was still alive, although it was a deeper orange colour than would normally be expected. Possibly this knotweed was treated many years ago with a residual herbicide, which might explain the long dormant period and the discolouration.

We’re already booking surveys and receiving orders for treatment programmes and are able to provide suitable management plans for dealing with your Japanese knotweed or other invasive weeds. So why not call us?

With staff covering all of England & Wales, speak to the professional Japanese knotweed Company about your knotweed problems, contact us on 01327 703129 or 01962 886060 or email us on enquiries@jkweed.co.uk or sharon@jkweed.co.uk

Bamboo – hungry pandas wanted. Friday 26th January 2018

A better week for us this week, with a full house of staff back at work. We’re still having to shuffle some works around as there has been an impact on our planned works – so my apologies to anyone affected. We do try to give reasonable notice when this happens, but it can be difficult. We should be back to normal soon.

We’ve had a week dealing (almost exclusively) with bamboo. Hence my enquiry about if there any hungry pandas around who would like a good meal. At this time of year, we cut the bamboo down and inject the stumps with a glyphosate based herbicide. This is a reasonably effective way of treating bamboo (it will still need a number of follow up visits over the next few years to eradicate it though). This however leaves us with a large amount of bamboo… needless to say we do our best to re-use the material and my father has already laid claim to a few bamboo canes for his runner beans.

This week we’ve been shredding a lot of bamboo on a site in Hampshire, which will reduce the volume considerably and also allow it to decompose more quickly. By treating it in this way we are reducing off site waste and also adding to the local environment. A lot of insects and arthropods will set up home in a pile of woody waste such as this and this will in turn provide food for other animals and birds. After a year or so the material will have broken down and will add to the soils fertility.

So where has all this bamboo come from? Well those of us with a long memory remember the 1990s gardening programmes, many of which promoted the use of bamboo as a living screen in suburban gardens. They also used to mention (casually if I recall) that you needed to use a root barrier to stop it from spreading, what they didn’t say was that bamboo can grow over any root barrier and needs constant management to stop it from spreading.

When Japanese knotweed was first introduced (1850s onwards), it was marketed as being a tall screening plant, minimal maintenance, etc. Which is basically what was being said about bamboo in the 1990s. Japanese knotweed spreads by underground stems (rhizomes), would you like to guess how bamboo spreads? Japanese knotweed can destroy hard surfaces – as can bamboo. We’re still in the early days of the ‘great bamboo infestation’, it will be interesting for those of us working in the industry of invasive weeds to see what happens next. Either the problem will be contained or it will enter the next phase of invasive behaviour and establish itself in the wild.

We’re already booking surveys and receiving orders for treatment programmes and are able to provide suitable management plans for dealing with your Japanese knotweed or other invasive weeds. So why not call us?

With staff covering all of England & Wales, speak to the professional Japanese knotweed Company about your knotweed problems, contact us on 01327 703129 or 01962 886060 or email us on enquiries@jkweed.co.uk or sharon@jkweed.co.uk

Japanese knotweed – coping with Aussie Flu. Wednesday 17th January 2018

On the bright side, I haven’t succumbed yet to the dreaded seasonal flu. I suspect it is only a matter of time however...

It appears that nearly everyone around me this week has fallen ill with the dreaded flu in the last two weeks. My wife was ill last week and is still recovering and no less than four staff members are off this week – three with the flu and one on leave (he had the flu two weeks earlier!). This is quite remarkable as our staffing arrangements mean that we don’t actually all meet face to face that often, since before Christmas in fact.

So I must ask all our customers to have patience with us, if we have to cancel scheduled works at short notice this week. We don’t want to pass the flu to you too.

We’re already booking surveys and receiving orders for treatment programmes and are able to provide suitable management plans for dealing with your Japanese knotweed. So why not call us? The office is still manned!

The time to start treating your Japanese knotweed is now, so call the professionals.

With staff covering all of England & Wales, speak to the professional Japanese knotweed Company about your knotweed problems, contact us on 01327 703129 or 01962 886060 or email us on enquiries@jkweed.co.uk or sharon@jkweed.co.uk

Japanese knotweed 2018 – so what now? Friday 5th January 2018

Another year… another season of Japanese knotweed and I’m looking forward to it. I take great pride in signing contracts off, when the knotweed has been eradicated, monitored for re-growth and after two seasons with no growth, we can issue a Certificate of Eradication. That is the best part of my job!

The good news for us and our customers is that we can continue using glyphosate based herbicides. Without this vital resource, we would have no tools available to use in environmentally sensitive areas such as watercourses, etc. The other possible options in these areas (non-chemical) would involve the mass removal or burial of the affected soils – which is hugely costly and uses huge amounts of fossil fuels.

I expect to see more invasive weeds in 2018. In recent years, we have seen more plants causing problems, and known weeds getting worse. The main terrestrial plans that are not (currently) included in Schedule 9 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) would for me include Himalayan knotweed (which hybridises readily with Japanese knotweed and is now spreading rapidly in many parts of the country) and also many species of bamboo.

Bamboo is an important weed in its own right and we see large infestations of this plant, which can cause very real issues with neighbours! Bamboo may also (like knotweed) lift paving slabs, destroy hard surfaces and infest surrounding ornamental areas, killing the other plants by outcompeting them. It’s a real thug and takes a number of years to kill.

We’re already booking surveys and receiving orders for treatment programmes and are able to provide suitable management plans for dealing with your Japanese knotweed. So why not call us?

The time to start treating your Japanese knotweed is now, so call the professionals.

Japanese knotweed – 2017 review. Thursday 21st December 2017

As regular readers of this blog know (and there are a few!), I usually write a few words on the 2017 season and perhaps look ahead to 2018.

2017 was an interesting year in the industry, we welcomed the renewal of the licence to use glyphosate in herbicides – glyphosate in its many formulations is essential for the control and eradication of invasive weeds – there is nothing else in many situations! We can either use glyphosate or watch invasive weeds destroy our natural environment. These options are stark and clear and we already have hectare plus blocks of knotweed growing adjacent to rivers, which are effectively sterile environments, of little or no benefit to the environment. Using glyphosate to kill the invasive plants, we can then restore the natural environment – without glyphosate, we can only watch the weeds spread.

We’ve had another good year in 2017, we had a new member of staff join our team and have continued to offer our professional services across all of England and Wales.

Legally, Japanese knotweed has had an interesting year, Network Rail have lost one case in Wales, concerning Japanese knotweed and are currently appealing the decision. This may (if the appeal is lost) make an interesting legal precedent. More on this in 2018. The first anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) were issued in 2017, to people or organisations who have failed to control their Japanese knotweed, fines and enforcement of the orders are then typically put into place.

Mortgage companies continue to review Japanese knotweed. We have not yet experienced a rejection of our Knotweed Management Plans from any of the larger lenders (smaller lenders are typically more risk averse). The only issues that we have experienced have been where a client has undertaken eradication/concealment/landscaping works (typically involving excavation) before involving us – our surveys have to reflect this and we can only report what we have found on site.

We have a number of interesting projects that we are working on at the moment, and these take us around the country – so you might see our vans on site in the New Year from Marazion to Margate or from Southampton to Sunderland or from Bangor to Barry! Wherever Japanese knotweed grows we’ll be there!

Our offices are closed from 12.30pm today until 8.30am Tuesday 2nd January 2018. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With staff covering all of England & Wales, speak to the professional Japanese knotweed Company about your knotweed problems, contact us on 01327 703129 or 01962 886060 or email us on enquiries@jkweed.co.uk or sharon@jkweed.co.uk

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