What does young knotweed look like?

When it comes to invasive plants, few are as troublesome and destructive as young japanese knotweed. Taking over gardens, choking out other plants and threatening the integrity of homes’ foundations, it’s no wonder that this aggressive perennial is an increasing concern for homeowners across the country. It’s also a serious issue for homebuyers and sellers, as the roots can break through concrete, block paving and even brickwork, causing damage and costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to repair.

It’s fairly easy to spot Japanese knotweed when it first emerges in spring, with dark red/purple shoots that resemble thick asparagus spears emerging from the ground. These shoots are the result of rhizome buds that form underground and grow much faster than crown buds above ground, resulting in a rapid rise in height throughout the spring. The leaves are tightly rolled and have a distinctive colour, which can help to distinguish them from other similar looking plants.

Once established, Japanese knotweed forms dense clumps of bamboo-like stems that can reach up to 2-3 metres in height. These canes are marked by purple speckles and vibrant green leaves sprout from nodes along the stem as they mature. As the summer progresses, flowering can take place, and eventually these stems turn brown and brittle in winter.

The rhizomes of Japanese knotweed can survive even when the plant is dormant in winter, and it’s this ability to regenerate that makes this an extremely difficult and costly problem for many homeowners and businesses. In fact, it’s so resilient that lab tests have shown that even fragments as small as 0.06g can be able to establish a new plant.

While small clumps of Japanese knotweed can be managed by digging or applying herbicide to the foliage, large infestations require professional treatment. This can be carried out by qualified weed control contractors who are able to draw up risk reports and offer a guarantee on the complete eradication of the plant, which is generally accepted by mortgage lenders.

In addition to offering expert eradication services, a good contractor can also provide advice on preventing future growth by implementing a weed management programme. This will include a schedule of monitoring and routine treatments that can be used to keep the weed at bay, providing long-term protection for your property.

Young japanese knotweed is a notoriously difficult and expensive invasive plant, but with the right care and attention, it’s possible to keep it under control within your garden. The key is to ensure that the rhizomes are fully exposed when digging or spraying, and the plant is removed from its site completely to prevent it from returning. Contact your local weed control service to find out more about how they can help you to get rid of young japanese knotweed from your property. They’ll be able to use a combination of digging and chemical control to keep the weed at bay for good.