Japanese knotweed UK: what is it and can you get rid of it?

Christopher Clarke told the judge the knotweed “comes through the door if you open the door”

A millionaire whose £1.6million home was severely devalued by Japanese knotweed has taken his neighbor to court.

Christopher Clarke and Louise Kaye are suing their neighbors Talha and Minha Abbasi for £250,000 over the knotweed found on their neighbour’s land.

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The couple bought their home in December 2014 for £1,159,999 and have been unable to secure a mortgage or sell it.

Their neighbors, the Abbasis, have admitted they knew the knotweed was on their land but deny the damage and say it was there before they bought the property.

Japanese knotweed is an invasive species that if left untreated can cause severe disruption, destroying buildings and costing a significant sum of money to eradicate.

Here’s everything you need to know about this destructive plant and how to get rid of it.

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a plant classified as an invasive species in the UK.

Japanese knotweed grows against a wall

It has bamboo-like stems that can grow 20 cm in just one day.

It is incredibly destructive and its roots have been known to damage buildings and their foundations.

It was brought to Britain by the Victorians as an ornamental garden plant and used to line railway tracks.

It has no natural enemies and the plant is notoriously difficult to kill.

What does Japanese knotweed look like?

Japanese knotweed is an invasive, fast-growing plant whose canes can grow 8 inches in just a day.

Japanese knotweed in bloom against a wall. Photo: EnvironetUK

Its roots are particularly destructive and can reach 2 meters deep and 7 meters wide.

According to Japanese knotweed UK, there are a few telltale signs the plant is growing in your garden.

The characteristics of the Japanese knotweed depend on the season.

Important things to look out for with Japanese knotweed:

  • Red shoots appear
  • Rolled up leaves spreading
  • Canes, similar to bamboo shoots, grow upwards with green leaves
  • Green, scoop-shaped leaves
  • Clusters of white flowers
  • Leaves grow in a zigzag pattern
  • The leaves turn yellow and begin to wither

How much damage can it do?

Japanese knotweed can seriously damage your home and garden.

It grows through small cracks and can decimate building foundations, walls and terraces.

The problem is taken very seriously by mortgage lenders, as many refuse to offer a mortgage on a home affected by Japanese knotweed.

The plant can also wreak havoc on gardens as its invasive roots strangle other plants.

If you are planning to sell your home, you are required by law to disclose if the grass is on your property.

How can you get rid of it?

Japanese knotweed typically takes three years to fully eradicate.

According to the UK government website, treating knotweed is not recommended for you unless you have experience in the field.

It suggests you contact a company that specializes in killing it.

The most common way to get rid of Japanese knotweed is by spraying or injecting the roots with chemicals.

The knotweed will need to be resprayed as it can remain dormant in the ground.

After the knotweed has been killed it is important that it is disposed of correctly to prevent another infestation.

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