Education needed on Japanese knotweed, not scaremongering, says contractor

Japanese knotweed is most destructive on structures that are already weakened, is treatable and need not be as feared as it is, according to building services contractor James Kelly.

While it is true that in extreme cases Japanese Knotweed can damage foundations and brickwork, these are rare and usually affect structures that are already damaged, said Kelly, operations director of Chequers Contract Services.

"The roots, like water, simply follow the path of least resistance which can include existing cracks in concrete for example", he said.

"Essentially it is still just a plant, meaning it can be dealt with, but the process needs a lot of care and persistence."

Kelly said "scaremongering" had created a "panic" among homeowners, which can be placated with a little education on the plant itself: "We work closely with many of our clients to train them to be able to spot the plant, giving us the best chance to remove it."

Chequers’ specialist Japanese Knotweed Eradication Team treats the plant by placing it on a three year programme. The contaminant is cordoned off and each stem injected with solution, first in the springtime, then again in September. By November or December, when the stems are dry and brittle, they are cut down and burned.

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