Monday, 5 August 2019

Why Bo'ness landlords need to know how to identify Japanese Knotweed

The Bo'ness Property Blog today features an article from a guest contributor, Jake Ryan of Wise Knotwood Solutions all about Japanese Knotweed ….. something that all landlords need to be be aware of.  Over to Jake …..

Spring begins with a warning for landlords

It has been estimated that Japanese Knotweed costs the British economy an astounding £166 million each year. The invasive plant has been listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the worst invasive species globally so it is critical that landlords familiarise themselves with the destructive plant, especially in spring.

The spring of 2018 was dominated by snowy and icy conditions that caused destruction all over the U.K. However, when it comes to invasive plants, this destructive weather was actually a blessing in disguise as it delayed the emergence of Japanese Knotweed by up to two months. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said this year as the unusually warmer weather has led to Japanese Knotweed emerging even earlier than normal. This is a serious concern and both landlords and tenants must remain vigilant as the invasive plant has the potential to devalue a property by tens of thousands of pounds.

Why should landlords worry about Japanese Knoyweed?

As Japanese Knotweed becomes dormant in winter, the best time to tackle the plant is in spring before it has the opportunity to grow to dangerous heights. Japanese Knotweed often goes undetected as due to its attractive appearance, homeowners tend not to notice the plant at all. This makes the invasive plant even more dangerous as if it remains undetected. Knotweed is capable of causing disastrous consequences to the structural integrity of a building. The plant is even capable of growing through the tiniest holes and gaps in masonry and concrete if given the opportunity. Japanese Knotweed should be of significant interest to any landlords looking to sell their property as an increasing amount of banks are now refusing to provide mortgages on properties affected by the plant.

How to recognise Japanese Knotweed in Spring

Spring is arguably one of the best times to spot Japanese Knotweed as the plant is at its weakest at this time due to it becoming dormant in Winter. Knotweed can become increasingly costly to treat so it is important to treat it as soon as you notice the plant.

Depending on weather conditions, Knotweed will normally first re-emerge in March in the form of pink and red buds shooting up from the ground. The plant grows a dangerous rate of 10cm daily so it is appearance is prone to change. The plant in its early stages is often compared to asparagus spears that will quickly develop into thick and hollow canes. These canes are similar in appearance to bamboo but come with distinctive pattern of purple speckles. As the weeks go by and its appearance continues to change, leaves will gradually begin to unroll from the canes as the plant grows bigger. The green leaves will contain a zig zag pattern on the stems and shaped similar to a heart but with a pointy end. The plant is capable of growing up to 7 metres in any direction so it can soon grow out of control if left untreated.

I’m a landlord with Japanese Knotweed – what’s next?

Japanese Knotweed can cause incredible damage to properties and significantly affect a property’s value but it is important for landlords to remember this damage is completely unavoidable if the plant is treated in time. It is advisable that homeowners do not attempt to treat the plant themselves as incorrect treatment can cause further damage which will result in a more expensive treatment programme in the long run. The longer Knotweed is left untreated, the more expensive it will be to remove from your property.

If you suspect you have Japanese Knotweed on your property then don’t hesitate to have the suspect plant examined by a professionally trained Knotweed surveyor before it grows out of control. Alternatively, upload photos of the suspicious looking plant to Wise Knotweed Solutions today to get a free assessment from one of our expert surveyors who will tell you whether or not the suspect plant is indeed Knotweed.   

By Jake Ryan of Wise Knotweed Solutions

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