Knotweed: J Horror in Brockley

Ryuji Takayama: This kind of thing... it doesn't start by one person telling a story. It's more like everyone's fear just takes on a life of its own.
- Ringu

Brockley has a Japanese Knotweed infection. Japanese Knotweed is the most invasive species of plant in Britain and needs to be removed by specialists if you have some. Happy in pretty much any soil or puddles of dark water, its roots can cut through concrete foundations or meat and bone easily.

One reader reports that it has spread to several gardens between Braxfield and Arabin Roads.

If you have some, you should consider getting rid of it as soon as possible, since it grows at up to 10cm a day. Thanks for the effort.

45 comments:

Mb said...

Me and the neighbours had some, hadnt been in the garden for a whie and suddenly BANG! There it was. Looked it up on the net and was convinced my home was doomed. Liberal doses of glyphosphate weed killer sorted it one season but can take several I'm told. A small infestation should be fixable by yourself but don't bother trying to dig it up. Weed killer is the only real method at the moment until the DoE allows release of a weed eating bug.

Loads at brockley station too, I keep meaning to email them and remind them of their legal responsibility to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I can imagine the baffled faces of the Brockley station staff as they bask in the glow of their infrared radiator in the middle of June...

Ramble said...

Seriously? Crap we have loads of the stuff. Just thought it was really annoying! What do I do? Van loads of weed killer?

TP Knotweed Solutions said...

I have just seen the blog on Japanese knotweed in Brockley.It is very important that you do not try and treat the Japanese knotweed yourself using ordinary weed killers. Incorrect treatment can mutate the knotweed, making complete eradication very difficult and there is also legislation that needs to be considered. Please see the TP Knotweed Solutions website for more information at http://www.tpknotweed.com/homes-mortgages

We offer a free initial site inspection, so if you think you may have Japanese knotweed at your property in the Brockley area, please do not hesitate to contact us.

A large number of banks are refusing to lend if knotweed is present on your property so it is very important that a professional knotweed management plan is put in place to eradicate it and monitor over 3-5 years. TP Knotweed Solutions offer customers a very cost effective treatment package, please enquire if you would like our assistance.

Monkeyboy said...

SPAM ALERT!! nonsense about the mutation.

Glyphosphate weed killer "roundup" or something similar - it's what the pros use anyway. Shannons(?) in forest hill sell concentrated stuff so you can use the appropriate dose. It's relativly benign as well. It only attackes what it's sprayed on and is non persistant, it breaks down quickly so you won't grow an extra head.

Anonymous said...

Yes - but is it organic?

Anonymous said...

It's also rife between Chalsey and Tressillian Roads. Yes, even in the conservation area! Joking aside, my mortgage application just got refused because the surveyor saw some in my neighbours back garden. Grrrrr.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't regard it as spam when an expert adds something to a relevant debate - smart marketing. As for the rights and wrongs of the stuff's removal, I can't comment, except to say that the cost of removing a load added hundreds of thousands to the cost of the Wembley Stadium rebuild.

Anxious said...

From what I've read from a variety of sources, it would be extremely difficult to get rid of it by yourself. You need to treat the area 7m from where the knotweed is, and just having fragments on your clothes would cause it to spread. I understand it also takes three years of treatment to eradicate it. It might look like it's gone, but it will almost certainly come back without some real expertise on the case.

I have it coming in to my garden from a neighbour's, and I am really anxious about it. I would welcome professional imput in the matter, whatever the cost, as I don't want it to make my flat impossible to sell in the future.

Anxious said...

Also, although it is not illegal to have JK on your property, I understand that it is illegal to allow it to spread to neighbouring properties.

Japanese Knotweed is regulated by several pieces of legislation, the main being:

The Wildlife and Countryside Act (as amended) 1981
The Environmental Protection Act 1990
The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991
Third party litigation where damages may be sought for allowing Japanese Knotweed to spread onto other properties.

This puts a duty of care on the landowner with Japanese Knotweed infestations to be proactive in the control and eradication of it. Planning permission will also generally be refused without an eradication programme in place for the infestation.

Anonymous said...

Get those aphids in that eat it. Or alternatively, a bit of Brocklese Mungweed should do it.

TP Knotweed Solutions said...

No problem, if you contact us after the weekend we will be able to help and advise you on the situation.

Monkeyboy said...

Sorry, I'm suitably scalded.

I fixed mine with Roundup, it was a small patch though and was not established.

Lets beat these suckers!

Network Rail or TfL or whever needs to sort out the issue along the rail line. Runs past peoples gardens so is an obvious source.

Anxious said...

Don't worry Monkeyboy - I think I just wrote that in the hope that my neighbours read it and get it done properly! They have a scary amount - 10ft high and at least 3ft deep... I don't think Roundup is going to cut it somehow.

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry anon, can't name individual houses with it.

Molewife said...

There are some big patches in the cemetery - I didn't realise there was actually legislation to prevent its spread. Surely the council are therefore obliged to zap it? My garden backs on to the cemetery *nervous*

Anonymous said...

Anybody would think it is something from the little house of horrors.

Anonymous said...

Life's tough in Brockley. Costcutter only had barn eggs the other day.

Headhunter said...

Knotweed is amazingly invasive stuff, it can literally grow from a single leaf or fragment dropped on the ground and as outlined, can grown 10cm per day and its roots can plough through concrete, stone, brick etc and destabilise buildings. Councils are supposed to jump on it and assist people to eradicate it when it's reported but I wouldn't rely on Lewisham Council.... I was reading the other day that if you have a large infestation you literally have to remove an area of soil down about 6 foot and 7 foot all around the plant and incinerate it and yes, buildings insurance is often invalid if you find it in your garden... I read recently that the DoE is considering releasing a variety of leaf mould and possibly an insect from its native Japan which keeps it under control over there, however here in the UK it currently has no natural predators so can literally grow like wildfire...

Anonymous said...

More Wildfire i say.

Carys said...

I contacted Lewishan Council about ours, and they (predictably) said it was our problem to sort out. I'm going to get specialist support, I think - we only have a bit of it, and I want to nip it in the bud (pardon the pun) - I just hope my neighbours decide to do the same, because they have loads.

Robert said...

Just had a look in my garden, and it's just common old bindweed round these parts, and plenty of it.

Ramble said...

Thankfully ours is just regular bindwind. I think.

pip said...

Blimey, this is the scariest thread I've ever read on this blog! Sounds like JK is even harder to get rid of than the moths that continue to make merry in my wardrobe despite me throwing a ton of mothkilling products at them over the years.

mb said...

don't get into a panic, my admitedly small patch got sorted for £10 worth of weed killer. My nice neighbours dealt with their side at the same time so no hassle. If it stradles a fence it could be difficult otherwise.

Danja said...

What amused me about the professional site is the following. It claims that applying retail glyphosate will mutate the plant such that it grows back with leaves too small to absorb future treatments.

OK, let's assume that's the case.

In the treatments section it details application of glyphosate - either (a) either by foliar spray if you have three or four years or (b) by stem injection rather than spray.

But, the consequence of mutation of your JKW by application of retail strength roundup is not "we will have to do the much more expensive stem injection treatment because the leaves have mutated" but rather "we will have to dig a small open cast mine".

Draw your own conclusions, I have.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like poppycock to me.

Anonymous said...

There is quite a bit of misinformation here, which can cause problems and make things worse. You have to be very careful with knotweed. Check out the EA website below for information.

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/sectors/31364.aspx

Brockley Nick said...

Agreed, the EA link is already in the article but I will make it a bit clearer.

Horticultural query said...

Sorry to be a pain but can someone please clarify if JK is the one which has those white trumpet-like flowers on it, that are out at this time of year? Or is that harmless bindweed? Lots of the white flower stuff in neighbour's garden so would be good to know! Thanks

Carys said...

The trouble with the Environmental Agency link is that it deals more with development sites, without really saying what to do with small scale domestic complaints.

Brockley Nick said...

HQ - might be worth looking at this Google image search to help you to identify it. The stems look like bamboo: http://bit.ly/mTvD2I

Thomas said...

Hi, yes I agree that there appears to be some confusion regarding Japanese knotweed. I will happily give a free presentation on Japanese knotweed covering all aspects for a group if required. It is very important that everyone understands correct information when it comes to Japanese knotweed.

Kind Regards,
Thomas Payne

Managing Director
TP Knotweed Solutions

TM said...

One little nugget of information regarding knotweed is that all of it in the UK is female.

It spreads by self propagation without seeds as there are no male plants here as there are in Japan.

So don't anyone bring one back next time you are out in the far east.

Percy, the sexist gardener. said...

Bloody women, thats just like them. Popping up where they've no bussiness being in the first place.

jamie bleedin' oliver said...

Knotweed Spears - coming to an organic food market near you.

Headhunter said...

So if someone brought a male back, would it be like Day of the Triffids??

Actually I heard somewhere that one of the reasons for the increase in hayfever is that parks and gardens authorities across the UK tend to plant male plants (I think it's males that send out pollen??), because female plants drop fruit and seeds which make a mess and cost a lot of money to clear up. This means that there is an over population of pollen spreading males...

Teacher said...

Christ, I wish I had a left handed hammer to sell to HH. "guys! This bloke at the pub sold me awry handed hammer. It's BRILLIANT!"

Anonymous said...

These left handed hammers... are they organic?

Headhunter said...

Eh? What has me talking about male and female plants and hayfever got to do with left handed hammers? Weirdo....

Anonymous said...

As someone else pointed out, there is a spread of this in Brockley Cemetary. The council should do something as it just grows through anything, concrete & stone being no defence. There is one part in the cemetary where it is growing straight through the horizontal tomb stones like it was nothing. I also know of someone in SE London who has had subsidence works done and JK was apparently to blame.

Anonymous said...

It looks like there is lots along the railway along the nunhead-lewisham line

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of alarmist guff written about knotweed, particularly on websites owned by knotweed eradication companies. It's just a plant and you can kill it, but it takes a few years. It can damage buildings, but the main problem at the moment is the attitude of banks that (for economic reasons) don't want to give people mortgages and see knotweed as an excuse to refuse them.

I'm dealing with two patches in Dulwich. You need to thoroughly spray the leaves with Roundup Pro Active, which can be bought online (but not in shops). This needs to be done in summer when the plant will carry the poison into its roots. I sprayed my patches several times (a few weeks apart).

The leaves then turn brown and fall off, but the roots will still be alive. So keep spraying the regrowth for a couple of years.

Roundup does NOT make the plant mutate, but the new shoots may be small. No problem, you can spray them and the ground around them with picloram, which is also available online. You're supposed to get a licence to use this as it will kill trees and all other plants besides grass and will stay active in the soil for about two years.

If knotweed is a worry because you wnat to sell your house, I think you have two options: kill it yourself, as outlined above, and then keep shtum; or get the pros in and get a knotweed eradication plan and warranty to give to your solicitor when you sell. Obviously, option 2 will result in a trickier.

I have to say, spraying poison on the stuff and watching it die is extremely satisfying, particularly if it's causing any anxiety.

somewherealongtheBlackfriarsLine said...

Hey - has anyone had any success in getting Network Rail to remove JKW from the railway embankment behind their house? Our house sale just fell through because it was picked up by the surveyor and no mortgage company will lend or remortgage with it in the vicinity..help needed please!

Anonymous said...

I am in the US, where Japanese knot weed is an annoyance in some town as it grows in local parks. Now I wonder if it is a sufficient problem to cause a house sale to fall through!

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