Customers frequently come into the centre with a piece of foliage thinking it is Japanese Knotweed.

Friday, 18th September 2015, 7:00 am
John Shannon. INLT 13-802-CON

In most cases, it’s a false alarm, but when someone does come in with Japanese Knotweed my usual advice is “to move house”: a bit extreme, and usually not practical.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) was brought to Northern Ireland in the nineteenth century as an ornamental plant. Once established, it became the most invasive plant known to mankind.

It is an herbaceous perennial, which means it dies down at the end of each season, growing again more vigorously in the spring, up to three meters high,.

From a distance, with its heart-shaped leaves, it can look a little like bamboo.

This weed has the ability to grow through concrete, tarmac and in some cases will penetrate the foundations of a building.

There are two ways of trying to get rid of this weed:

1. dig it up; or

2. Use a Chemical weed control which is the best method.

Digging up the weed would make it necessary to dig down at leasta meter deep and dispose of the soil and the roots via a proper contractor.

Putting the roots in our brown bins is illegal. You cannot put it on the compost heap, where it would just regenerate.

You can take it to your recycling area, as long as you tell them what you are disposing off.

During construction of the Olympic Park in London, Japanese Knotweed was found and work had to stop while a licensed contractor was brought in to deal with the problem.

The best way to deal with this nightmare weed is to spray every shoot and leaf as it pops its head up, and from spring repeat this process every week right through the growing season.

In September ,the sap of the weed is flowing down to the roots for its winter dormant period. Keep putting the weed killer on and it will travel down to the roots.

Unfortunately, this may take full year and maybe even longer. Hopefully, after a full season the weed should be weaker and even eliminated in some cases, although it can take up to three years to rid yourself of this problem.

The best weedkillers are Westland Resolva, or Extra Tough Roundup.

For more information on dealing with Japanese Knotweed you can contact us or go to the web site of Mid and East Antrim Council.