Japanese knotweed in the South
By Jennifer Holmes

Japanese knotweed in the South

knotweed hotspots in the south of England

Japanese knotweed is a problem for homeowners, property developers and land owners across the UK, but in this article we’ll focus on England, and in particular the South. Knotweed affects people and commercial businesses alike. Homeowners can face devaluation of property and issues with selling if they do not deal with the infestation properly, and for construction, the presence of knotweed will put projects on hold. Here we look at why the Southern counties are rapidly catching up with the North for knotweed hotspots.

Whilst we help clients and homeowners across England, Scotland and Wales to manage or eradicate Japanese knotweed, the South and South East of England are rife with knotweed, with Bristol, Bournemouth, Southampton, Exeter, Hastings and Brighton being some of the worst affected areas for knotweed infestations.

But the truth is most Southern coastal towns and cities have a big problem with knotweed infestations, along with the Isle of Wight.

why knotweed is a problem for southern counties 

Japanese knotweed thrives in any climate or environment but it prefers a warm humid or even wet climate, and the South generally offers warmer and more humid conditions. Another reason the South has such an abundance of knotweed is construction. With urban areas being more developed than countryside areas its most likely that development of land to create new housing estates has played its part in making knotweed infestations more prevalent in Southern coastal towns.

Fragments of the plant’s rhizome (roots) can also easily be spread by excavation or even homeowners digging their garden, both of which unknowingly transports fragments further afield. These fragments will quickly establish new plant growth, and so the problem spreads!

How worried should I be about knotweed near me?

Japanese knotweed is known to carry a negative stigma for property owners, especially those considering buying or selling. In a public poll those asked whether they would purchase a property affected by Japanese Knotweed answered:

  • Yes (11%)
  • No (80%)
  • I don’t know what Japanese knotweed is (8%)

When asked what reduction in sale price they may expect for the affected property, those who answered ‘Yes’:

  • 0 – 5% (32%)
  • 5 – 10% (25%)
  • 10 – 15% (13%)
  • 15 – 20% (18%)
  • 20% or more (12%)

(Data courtesy of Horticulture.co.uk)

Additionally, nearly half of the people who took part in the survey didn’t recognise knotweed when presented with images of a variety of plants – this is very common. Japanese knotweed can be difficult to spot or identify to an untrained eye. With several plant species looking very similar to Japanese knotweed it can easily be missed and that’s a bigger problem. Knotweed spreads via underground root systems (rhizomes) which means in its dormant wintering state it looks completely different (brown woody canes) or may not be visible above ground at all. In reality you could be just feet away from a knotweed infestation on a neighbouring property and not know about it until the plant springs up on your land.

What this data also shows is the real impact knotweed has on what some consider your most valuable asset – property. Devaluation is a real concern, but it isn’t a deal breaker! The best option is to have a professional knotweed survey carried out and if you find knotweed is present then a treatment plan will reassure not just you but potential buyers should you wish to sell up, or if you just want to get rid of the knotweed we can advise you on excavation options.

Getting rid of knotweed

If you suspect you have Japanese knotweed on your property or land you can send us some pictures using our free identification service and you’ll quickly get an answer. A more secure answer would be provided from having a survey carried out by one of our CSJK qualified surveyors. If you do have knotweed you may be initially concerned about what to do and how it may affect your property, but having identified the issue we will help resolve it.

Our surveyors and operatives work across the Southern counties and boroughs to get knotweed under control, or simply get rid of it. There are many myths about “killing” knotweed, but the truth is this plant can only be controlled or removed. Herbicides applied to the plant at the right time(s) of the year over a 3-5 year period will control its above ground growth however the rhizomes underneath remain viable for many years, so the best solution is to have it completely removed by excavating the ground and removing all knotweed material from site so no fragments are left to generate new plants.

knotweed services in the South of England

With our head office based in Southampton we’re ideally placed to serve the South of England. Get in touch today to kick start the process of finding out if your property has a knotweed infestation.