Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed or Asian knotweed, as it’s sometimes referred to as, is as it’s name suggests a weed from the far East of Asia. Like other plants or animals that have migrated from their original habitat, Japanese knotweed has been found to have a number of disastrous properties.

Let’s first look at how you identify the menace. It sprouts in the Spring, with purplish shoots emerging from pinky-red bulbs. Once it reaches Summer, their main feature is the long hollow stems with some raised lumps, similar to bamboo. Leaves and branches shoot out from these lumps or nodules. It can grow to heights of up to 3-4m but often can be found much shorter. As with many weeds, it grows within cracks and other crevices and spreads very easily. By Winter, the shoots die and return to the ground where the dead stems remain for months. It can dominate and expand within areas where there are other indigenous plants and drive them out.

What problems does it cause?

In it’s original homeland, Japanese knotweed grew on the sides of volcanoes in an inhospitable environment. This difficult ground acted as a natural control on the spread of the weed. It would survive due to it’s deep rooting with what is know as rhizomes, that can extend metres down and across. It’s incredible tenacity makes it a very successful survivor and spreader.

The biggest risk is damage to property. The knotweed roots can spread and puncture even concrete or tarmac. In recent years, legislature has come in to effect regarding Japanese Knotweed due to it’s negative points. Since 2013, sellers are required to check whether or not it is present on a property. There was also an amendment to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which details some responsibility regarding the handling of the weed. 

Because of it’s violent knack for spreading, Japanese Knotweed has been known to devalue properties due to the threat of damage. Lack of disclosure about it’s presence can cause delays in selling home or other building work. Japanese Knotweed has no natural predators and is therefore free to spread if left unchecked. It can regrow from small fragments of rhizomes and this also means that there are very strict regulations about how to discard any knotweed that you destroy or dig up. It’s very easy for your destroyed or uprooted knotweed to become a new outbreak and you will be held accountable for irresponsible disposal.

So what can I do about it?

If you find that yo are a victim of the Japanese Knotweed scourge, you have a responsibility to halt and control it’s spread. But of course, it probably isn’t your fault that it’s there in the first place.

You can:

Try to remove the weeds yourself. This process is incredibly difficult and likely is going to require professional advice or help. Digging it out would mean you’d have to be incredible thorough as it can regrow from less than a gram of material. Chemical treatment can be used but courses to fully eradicate the pest may take up to five years. Other bugs or pests can also keep the weed in check. And if none of that works, it’s apparently pretty edible too!

Claim for the damages. As mentioned earlier, there’s a strong chance that the presence of knotweed isn’t your fault. This means that for it to be on your property, someone may have failed in their responsibility along the way. You can prove a loss of value to your property or other quality of life damages as a result.

This is where we can held. Emerald Law are specialists in this relatively new avenue of claims. We can help you get damages owed to you because we can understand how hard dealing with this relatively recent threat can be.


If you feel like you’re being affected by Japanese Knotweed, please get in touch.

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