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Japanese Knotweed Identification Guide

Japanese knotweed – also referred to as Fallopia Japonica – is the most invasive form of knotweed found around the United Kingdom. As a result, Japanese knotweed can have a serious impact when it comes to selling a property and can spell disaster for homeowners. So, it is useful to know how to identify Japanese knotweed and how to get rid of it.

This guide to Japanese knotweed will explain everything you need to know about the invasive plan, and discusses all available options if you discover the plant near your home. Navigate the post using the table of contents below.

Table of Contents

What is Japanese knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive plant, which you do not want near your property. It is said that during summer months, particularly around June and July, the plant is known to produce stems as tall as 3m tall (10ft), but it is actually the roots that cause the biggest concern for homeowners.

Underground, the plant develops an extensive network of stems (rhizomes) which are strong enough to break through hard surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac.

Japanese knotweed characteristics

If you suspect that the plant is growing near to, or on, your property, you should look out for the following characteristics to identify Japanese knotweed successfully:

  • Red tinged shoots (when the plant first breaks through the ground)
  • A hollow stem (bamboo-like)
  • One stem per node
  • Zig-zag stem growth
  • Shield/shovel/heart shaped leaves with a flat base
  • Mid-green coloured leaves
  • Clusters of cream flowers (most common towards the end of July)
  • Normally dies back between September and November, resulting in brown stems

If you want to identify Japanese knotweed on your property, or nearby, it is advisable to get in touch with a professional. This is because the plant can be very easily misdiagnosed, as many wild plants have similar characteristics.

Photo credit: praiadotofo8400 / Shutterstock

Can I sell my house with Japanese knotweed?

Before you go ahead and begin selling a house with Japanese knotweed, you must take into account the problems that you may face. Once a professional has confirmed that your property or nearby property has Japanese knotweed, your options for sale will depend on its severity. Depending on how serious the case is, it can significantly affect how quickly your home will sell and the price it goes for.

The main reason for problems selling a house with Japanese knotweed is due to the fact that mortgage lenders are very reluctant to lend on properties where knotweed is prevalent, as the plant’s roots can affect the structural foundations of the property. This is a major problem when getting building insurance too, as if anything happened to the property, companies are often unwilling to pay out any money. This can instantly put off any potential buyers.

However, this isn’t always the case. In some instances, if a mortgage lender sees evidence of a treatment plan, they may approve a mortgage deal, but this is entirely dependent on a case-by-case basis, Therefore, it is advisable to contact a Japanese knotweed removal company and begin treatment immediately. However, it is worth noting that Japanese knotweed removal is not a quick job; it can take around three years from start-to-finish.

Photo credit: Erika J Mitchell / Shutterstock

So, if you are thinking of moving property soon and have no time to treat your property properly before selling, your options will be limited. Instead, you may want to consider selling your home to a cash buyer who can deal with the problem themselves, without having to borrow money from a mortgage lender.

Alternatively, you may want to consider selling your home to a “we buy any house” company, who buys properties in various condition in exchange for cash. Feel free to contact the team at Fast Sale Today if you would like any further information.

How to remove Japanese knotweed from your property?

You may be wondering how to kill Japanese knotweed. Unfortunately, according to Swansea University – who conducted the world’s largest field trial on the control of Japanese knotweed – eradication of the plant is not possible in the short term.

However, this doesn’t mean the plant isn’t treatable. There are two common ways of removing Japanese knotweed from your property:

1. Herbicide treatment

This treatment is good for:

  • Homeowners
  • Buyers
  • Sellers

2. Excavation

This is recommended where long-term herbicide treatment isn’t desirable, or the area that is affected is to be disturbed frequently. It includes:

  • Turfing
  • Driveway
  • Paving
  • House extension
  • Outbuilding (garden shed, garage, greenhouse etc.)
Photo credit: Gl0ck / Shutterstock

Can I get rid of Japanese knotweed myself?

On the other hand, you may be looking at alternative DIY treatments to get rid of Japanese knotweed yourself, to cut back on specialist costs. But before going ahead, beware that doing this could make the situation 10-times worse.

For example, AVOID the use of garden trimmers – freshly-cut Japanese knotweed stems are able to grow even more shoots when in soil or water.

As a result, it is recommended that you consult a trusted Japanese knotweed removal company to do the hard work for you.

Some professional removal experts and national bodies include:

How much does it cost to remove Japanese knotweed?

Let’s clear one thing up: removing Japanese knotweed is not cheap.

The cost of removing Japanese knotweed is entirely dependent on how much land the plant covers, which treatment plan you opt for, and which company you decide to use. This doesn’t mean you should opt for the cheapest Japanese knotweed removal company, as they may not execute the work to a high standard, and you may end up with a far more serious condition than ever before.

As a guide, according to Japanese Knotweed Ltd, the going-rate is around £1,000 per visible square yard.

You may also be interested in knowing what to do if your property has subsidence. Take a read of our complete guide to subsidence.

Feature image credit: Vasilii Aleksandrov / Shutterstock

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