Japanese Knotweed - a worry for any home owner in Hillingdon

Was walking along the canal bank on the opposite side to Tesco’s Yeading Superstore, when I spotted a plant that home owners dread to find, but few people know what it is.  A lovely Japanese Knotweed growing up through the concrete on the banks of the Grand Union Canal.

Not flowering at the moment but they have purply almost fleshy coloured stems with heart shaped leaves that grow one after another on opposite sides of the branch.  Quite beautiful really.  They are quite common along the tow paths locally and sadly can be found in peoples gardens in West Drayton and across Hilllingdon.

So why is Japanese Knotweed so dreaded?  

The plant is very robust, it grows quickly and forces itself up through concrete or tarmac to grow (as it had done by the canal).  The worry is that it grows into buildings.  Whilst distressing this is rare.  

In Japan knotweed has natural predators that have grown to keep it in check but we don’t have them here in the UK.  The plant spreads and grows up from its roots and even a very small amount of root can grow a new plant.  

I do think that the best place for them is not on your land!  

Royal Horticultural Society

If you did find it in your property I would not worry too much.  Information is power and having a plan to tackle it would be a good step forward.  As gardening experts, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), offer great advice on how to tackle the problem and should be a first point of call if you spot Japanese Knotweed or Fallopia japonica as it might be called in RHS circles. 

In a rush?  The plant can be removed quickly but this is also very expensive, developers removing metres of top soil to a specialist site for disposal does not come cheap.  As long as you are not selling soon I would opt for chemical treatment of the plant for a few years until removed.   Using a sustained chemical weedkiller makes the most sense to me.  But please consult an expert.  It has to be done consistently and regularly.

Stop it appearing again

I would check back to see where the plant might have come from.  New soil brought onto the site or could it have grown in from a neighbouring property?  If a neighbour has it they may not be aware.  I would discuss tackling the plant with your neighbour and come up with a plan of action together.  I am sure they would be as keen as you to deal with the issue but if they don’t respond consulting the anti social behaviour team at Hillingdon Council could be a way forward.  But hopefully you won’t have to go down that legal route.

Japanese Knotweed can be a curse as a home-owner but should you find it on your property seek advice from the experts so that you don’t just delete it you eradicate it for good!