Winter knotweed cane removal
By Jennifer Holmes

Winter knotweed cane removal

Winter Japanese knotweed cane removal

In winter Japanese knotweed stems turn into brittle canes that have a hollow centre. These are the remnants of last season’s growth and will still be visible if the knotweed has been left undisturbed. If the knotweed has not been previously treated it will form large clumps (or stands) as shown in the second image below.

These canes can be cut down using a brush cutter and removed in winter which gives increased visibility of new growth or access to the underground rhizome, so we’re not fighting through the canes when treating or excavating the new growth in the spring. Winter cane removal is a vital part of a knotweed management plan.

Brown hollow Japanese knotweed stem in winter

Brown japanese knotweed canes in winter

Why do we cut knotweed canes in winter?

Typically we carry out brush cutting over the winter months in readiness for the spring regrowth when we can then excavate and remove knotweed from site. If a knotweed treatment plan is in place, it’s important to have these old canes cut down and removed in winter as this makes treatment  more effective in the upcoming season.

On an environmental level, knotweed canes create dense areas that can also block natural light out for other plants and species competing for winter sunlight. Cutting the canes down helps protect the habitat’s biodiversity.

Red Japanese knotweed shoots

Can knotweed be detected in winter?

Even during the winter months, our highly skilled surveyors are able to detect knotweed. As the picture above shows, in the right conditions new growth can appear early in the season – this picture was taken in December. In cases where the above ground growth does not provide a conclusive assessment, we also conduct trial digs to determine the presence and extent of knotweed below the surface.


  • Japanese knotweed and some other invasive plants lie dormant underground in the winter, only detectable to a highly trained surveyor’s eye.
  • Even dead knotweed canes require disposal to a landfill site licensed to receive noxious waste.
  • If you really want to know if invasive plants are on your land or property a survey is key.
  • If you have plans to develop land, it is absolutely crucial to have a pre-planning/purchase survey in place – even in winter we can detect knotweed!

If you want to be sure you have knotweed under control – call us today on 0333 2414 413 to see how we can help.