30 Apr Japanese Knotweed – Do You Know What to Look For?
Japanese knotweed has hit the headlines again this week. This time it’s good news – there are indications that mortgage companies are being overly cautious in their approach to lending on homes affected by the plant.
However, experts agree that thanks to its invasive and damaging nature, and the huge challenges involved in removing it, knotweed can still be a cause for concern.
Finding knotweed early, before it spreads and damages buildings and pipework, can save substantial amounts of time and money. With this in mind, we’ve produced a handy guide to checking your property for Japanese knotweed.
Japanese knotweed is easiest to spot in the spring and summer, when it’s growing rapidly. Hollow stems and shovel- or heart-shaped leaves that alternate along the stem in a zig-sag pattern are key giveaways. In the winter months it’s much harder to identify the plant, but a dense collection of bamboo-like shoots can indicate that Japanese knotweed has died back or been cut back.
How to spot Japanese knotweed
- The first step is to get to know the local area. Have a look around Japanese knotweed’s favourite haunts, such as railways, canals, lakes, scrub land and car parks. You can also use local websites, such as the council site and Nextdoor. Environet’s heatmap is also a useful guide to the likelihood of having Japanese knotweed near you.
- Have a good look around your property. The garden is the obvious place to start, but you might also find Japanese knotweed growing in drains and pipes, in paved areas and in walls. Pay close attention around outbuildings and also both sides of your boundaries.
- Ask! If you are buying a house, the seller is legally obliged to declare any Japanese knotweed on the TA6 property information form distributed by the conveyencer. Estate agents also have an obligation to declare it under the Consumer Protection Regulations.