Japanese Knotweed, listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the most invasive species on the planet, is cropping up in green spaces across Britain. Many Britons are unable to identify the nuisance weed which can easily blend in with surrounding shrubs. Due to its rapid growth and root system, knotweed poses a significant risk to concrete foundations, thus endangering the stability of homes.
A team of gardening experts are warning people to be on the lookout for the unwelcome plant and have revealed five key tell-tale signs.
Chris Bonnett of GardeningExpress.co.uk said: “Just going from its appearance, Japanese Knotweed is the kind of thing you might welcome in your hedgerow.
“To some it can look quite attractive with its creamy white flowers and heart shaped leaves – but before you know it, it’s taken hold and is eating through the walls of your house.
“Japanese knotweed is so invasive that it can grow by a metre a month and can cause damage to your home – but the trouble is it can very easily be mistaken for a shrub by a novice gardener.
“These tips should help Brits identify this pesky plant, but if you’re still not sure, check online or ask an experienced gardener.”
Some Britons have been unable to sell their homes because evidence of the aggressive plant on the grounds of the property will deter potential buyers.
According to Environet UK, Japanese Knotweed “hotspots” in the UK include Bolton, Bristol, Nottingham, Norwich, Newcastle and Clapham Common in London.
Gardening gurus at GardeningExpress.co.uk say people should be on the lookout for distinctive thick red shoots which will emerge in the spring and resemble asparagus.
It has large heart-shaped leaves which spread out as they grow and become a vibrant green colour.
In late summer and early autumn small clusters of white or cream flowers will appear and, together with the leaves, will create a dense foliage.
The roots can grow as far as 2m below ground and up to 7m horizontally from the plant.
Without the help of experts, the stubborn weed can be difficult to control.
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