Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing and strong clump-forming perennial, with tall, dense annual stems. Stem growth is renewed each year from the stout, deeply-penetrating rhizomes (creeping underground stems).
In spring, reddish-purple fleshy shoots emerge from crimson-pink buds at ground level. These grow rapidly, producing in summer, dense stands of tall bamboo-like canes which grow to 2.1m (7ft) tall. These canes have characteristic purple flecks, and produce branches from nodes along its length.
Leaves are heart or shovel-shaped and up to 14cm (5½in) in length and borne alternately (in a zig zag pattern) along the stems. The stems die back to ground level in winter, but the dry canes remain for several months or longer.
The creamy-white flower tassels produced in late summer and early autumn reach up to 15cm (6in).
More information can be found here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/membership/rhs-gardening-advice
Under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it can be an offence to plant or grow Japanese Knotweed. However; there is no statutory requirement for landowners to remove these plants from their property once established naturally.
Whose Responsibility Is It To Control Japanese Knotweed?
If the land is privately owned then the responsibility for the control of this weed rests with the landowner or tenant of the land. The Environment Agency or Ashfield District Council are not obliged to control this weed on behalf of private landowners. Disputes between private landowners concerning the control of this weed are a civil matter.
Complaints concerning Japanese Knotweed growing on roadside grass verges within Ashfield District Council area or on Council owned land should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively: you can call the environment department by telephoning 01623 450000 and choosing option 3 for waste and environment and then option 3 for other enquiries
Japanese Knotweed growing on verges of large main roads (trunk roads) or motorways in the district, control and eradication is the responsibility of the Highways Agency and not the Council;
An amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 includes invasive non-native plants including Japanese knotweed. Here are some key points for how this affects the homeowner:
Buying and selling property
Since 2013, the seller is required to state whether Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is present on their property through a TA6 form - the property information form used for conveyancing. Your conveyancer or solicitor will be able to provide full legal advice, however, here is a summary:
Contact The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors for further information.
The best solution is to co-operate with the neighbouring landowner and co-ordinate your control efforts, by sharing costs of labour or herbicide.
Non-weed killer control
When tackling Japanese knotweed, cultural control methods pose some problems.
How Do I Control or Eradicate Japanese Knotweed on My Land?
In order to contact the Environment Agency on such matters, the national communications centre should be contacted on 08708 506 506. Herbicide application forms can then be sent out upon request. On no account should Japanese knotweed be included with normal household waste or put out in green waste collection schemes.
Weed killer control
It usually takes at least three to four seasons to eradicate Japanese knotweed using weed killer. Professional contractors, however, will have access to more powerful weed killer that may reduce this period by half. When using weed killer, always follow the instructions on the pack to make effective and economic use of the product while minimising risks to people and the environment.
Glyphosate-treated knotweed will often produce small-leaved, bushy regrowth 50-90cm (20in-3ft) in height the following spring. This is very different in appearance to the normal plant and it is essential that this regrowth is treated
Bear in mind that the home gardener will not get an insurance backed guarantee without using a professional company for the control of Japanese knotweed. This may be important if planning to sell your property in the near future or if a neighbour is threatening litigation from the spread of knotweed from your property
If you do not know who owns the adjoining land or you are in dispute with your neighbour about the control of Japanese Knotweed then current legislation offers little support.
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides a remedy if Japanese Knotweed is causing a nuisance to private property. A private nuisance is defined as an "unlawful interference with a person's use or enjoyment of land, or some right over, or in connection with it" (Read v Lyons & Co Ltd. 1945).
A solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to offer advice on how to take private nuisance action against a landowner where negotiations on control or eradication have failed.
For further advice on the control and eradication of Japanese Knotweed visit:
www.environmentagency.gov.uk or contact the national communications centre on 08708 506 506