Once regarded as one of the most beautiful and effective plants, the Japanese knotweed has now become a menace in the UK. This is evident from the public outcry where it appears that people are fighting a losing battle when it comes to eradicating the beautiful weed.
In 1847, the Society of Agriculture and Horticulture, Utrecht, Holland claimed that the Japanese knotweed was among the most viable and interesting ornamental plants. However, with the ongoing complaints and crisis about, this statement is proving to be quite the opposite.
In fact, many homeowners are complaining about their homes losing nearly half the value simply because the potential buyer saw the beautiful plant. Many say that many buyers have a shift of mind and heart once they see the plant and would rather let go of a property than think about eliminating it afterward.
A recent case was that of Elizabeth Abraham, a property owner in Swansea, who expected her home to fetch approximately £80,000. However, the proud homeowner was shocked that she maximum she could get for her property was £45,000. Not because her property wasn’t immaculate or the property value had dipped but simply because of the dreaded weed.
A native plant to Japan, the weed was brought to Europe by Phillipp von Siebold, a German-born botanist in the mid 19th century. Due to its potential as an animal feed as well as beauty, botanical companies including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew started shipping in the weed for commercial purposes.
Sadly, the plant thrived too fast and has proven difficult to get rid of. People have tried digging it up, spraying weed killers and herbicides, burning it, cutting it but none of these methods seem to work.
Going by statistics, the plant can grow 20 cm daily and its roots can go as deep as 3 meters. All it takes for a new plant to blossom is just 0.8g of rhizome or root. A plant sown in early spring can attain a height of 1.5meters by the month of May and by June it would be 3 meters tall.
What’s more worrying is that the weed doesn’t have any natural predators and therefore can’t be swamped, stopped, or abated by other plants. And unlike most plants, it doesn’t grow from seeds. Instead, it germinates from minuscule rhizome fragments. Eliminating it becomes problematic since it forms an intricate network of underground roots and steps.
According to the latest statistics, the weed costs the UK economy a whopping £166 million annually in regards to home devaluations and weed control measures.
Matthew and Suzie Jones, homeowners in London, were advised that bringing down and rebuilding their £300,000 home was more feasible than trying to eliminate the knotweed.
However, all is not lost when it comes to the Japanese Knotweed UK menace. Some firms are offering services that will bring a stop to the menace. The best companies do it in an eco-friendly manner and also get rid of it once and for all. This drastically reduces the cost of dealing with the problem and also ensures their property retains its value.