The clocks have sprung forward; the evenings are getting lighter; and we’re even seeing a little more sunshine. With the arrival of Spring, it’s likely that many homeowners will start to turn their attentions to what needs doing in the garden. For those considering a sale, ensuring that their outside space is attractive and well-tended will be an important aspect of the overall marketing of their home – kerb appeal really does count!
However, there is a Japanese enemy within our gardens and it’s now that you need to get clued up on it or risk it impacting the overall value of your property. It’s Japanese Knotweed and we’ve been hearing more and more about this in recent years, yet there remains confusion as to what it is and the real threat it poses to properties.
Japanese Knotweed isn’t in fact new to the UK. First introduced in the mid-nineteenth century, it was initially recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society but with greater understanding of its impact the warning bell has now been rung against it.
With the potential to grow a staggering foot in just a week and spreading up to seven metres in all directions per season, Japanese Knotweed has been known to destroy walls and cause significant damage to underground drains.
Whilst it has mainly been commercial developments that have suffered from its damaging effects, the impact it can have on a residential property is clear and already many mortgage lenders are taking decisive steps before loaning on properties where it is present.
So, if you’re looking to market your property for sale or are considering a property purchase, what do you need to know about this alien invader?
Whilst it is not actually illegal to have it present on your property, since November 2014 ‘ASBOs’ can be issued to land owners with Japanese knotweed so you should consider action to achieve its removal to avoid it spreading to neighbouring land as this is when it can become a legal issue.
Removal isn’t easy so always seek expert advice. Frustratingly, Japanese Knotweed cannot be composted; does not respond well to cutting or in-situ burning; and simple pulling up of the plants is likely to cause its spread.
Chemical treatment should, however, work with multiple applications over several years but you will need to know what you’re doing. Advice from the Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA), which we actively promote, suggests the following steps:
If you’re worried about the impact Japanese Knotweed could have on your property, then the INNSA website (www.innsa.org) is well worth a visit, and you’ll of course always be greeted by a welcome and supportive team at your local Andrews branch