Experts have revealed that Bristol is home to the highest number of Japanese knotweed infestations in England. With over 1,000 instances of the invasive plant recorded in the BS postcode area and more than 300 in Central Bristol alone, the city has earned the unenviable distinction of being the most affected in the country, second only to Swansea in the UK.
Japanese knotweed, notorious for its rapid growth and destructive nature, typically begins sprouting in March and April, reaching heights of over 2.5 meters by mid-summer before dying back in winter. Its strong root system can spread up to seven meters, exerting pressure on hard surfaces and causing damage to fences, driveways, and even buildings.
While it is not illegal to have Japanese knotweed on your property, it can lead to legal disputes if it spreads to neighboring properties. The plant is usually unintentionally spread through the movement of soil or garden waste, or via rivers and streams when fragments of the plant take hold in new locations.
Addressing the issue of Japanese knotweed, Nic Seal, the founder of invasive plant specialist Environet, emphasizes the importance of vigilance. Differentiating knotweed from other common garden weeds such as ivy and bindweed is crucial for early detection. Seal suggests that homeowners familiarize themselves with the appearance of knotweed during the summer months, as it becomes harder to spot during the autumn and winter when the above-ground growth dies back.
To mitigate the risks associated with Japanese knotweed, professional help is often necessary. Environet estimates that approximately 5% of homes across the UK are affected by knotweed, directly or indirectly impacting property prices by around 5% and up to 10% in severe cases. Nevertheless, with professional treatment, the value of affected properties can be largely restored.
As tackling knotweed incurs considerable costs and poses legal risks, homeowners are urged to stay attentive and seek appropriate advice to protect their properties. By staying aware and taking preventative measures, homeowners can effectively manage the risks posed by Japanese knotweed.