Japanese Knotweed experts visit USA

The team behind a Japanese knotweed contractor in the UK will take its expertise to the USA to advise on legislation affecting the invasive plant.

Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed

Richard Podmore and David Layland, who set up Japanese Knotweed Control a decade ago, have been invited to Seattle to give a presentation to a large gathering of local government representatives from the west coast.

Podmore explained: "They have different legislation there - it's different in every state and they want us to explain to them how it works in the UK and Europe.

"Methods already used include foliar application and stem injection of chemicals. We're going to present to a couple of hundred people from US government, the equivalent of local authorities on the west coast. In effect, we are going to help them decide how they will make legislation in the future."

Defra announced last week that it will release the insect predator Aphalara itadori into the wild in the UK. Podmore said: "We are pleased that somebody is raising the profile of Japanese knotweed and that there's another organic way of treating it.

"But I don't believe it's actually going to affect the business end of the treatment for Japanese knotweed. From our understanding of it, the insect is actually only going to keep the plant down and not eradicate it."

A concern, he added, is that the plant could potentially spread to other areas if "stressed" by the invasion of the predator. Another is that the insect's possibly limited flight range may limit its effects.

Podmore also pointed out the possibility that the solution to the problem might become a problem in its own right.

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