Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a highly invasive and aggressive plant that can cause extensive damage to buildings, roads, railways and riparian areas. It forms dense thickets that crowd out native vegetation and can even penetrate paving and drains. It can also disrupt wildlife habitats and have negative effects on native flora, including pollinating bees. As such, it is a major problem in many parts of the country and is considered a significant environmental hazard. Disposing of it properly is a complex process that must adhere to strict guidelines.
Incorrect disposal methods can lead to the regrowth of the weed, so proper care and attention is required when dealing with it. This is why it is often best to employ a specialist contractor who is experienced in dealing with the problem and knows how to dispose of it appropriately.
Attempting to remove and dispose of this plant yourself without the right training or knowledge can be costly, not to mention illegal. This is because the rhizomes of the plant can survive in the ground for years, and even small fragments can grow into a full-grown plant. This is why it is a criminal offence to allow knotweed to spread.
There are a number of ways to dispose disposing of japanese knotweed of the plant, but it must be done correctly in accordance with the Environment Agency’s guidelines. This includes not allowing it to spread through soil that has been moved from the site, and only disposing of it at sites that have the correct type of permit.
One method is excavation, which involves digging up the plant and then destroying it on-site using heavy earthmoving machinery. This is normally the preferred option for large-scale infestations, and it is important to ensure that all rhizomes are removed from the ground. The soil must then be transported to a landfill site with the appropriate permit, taking care not to let it escape into the wild.
Another way to dispose of the plant is to spray it with herbicide. This can be effective in smaller, more manageable infestations, but it is important to use the most environmentally friendly herbicides possible. In particular, those that do not contain glyphosate, the main ingredient of Roundup, as this can have a detrimental effect on the gut bacteria of pollinating bees.
It is also possible to kill the plant by covering it with a thick, dark material that deprives it of sunlight and starves it of nutrients. This can be accomplished by covering the weed with a tarp, or using other materials such as bricks and carpet scraps. These coverings should be placed over the weed in the spring, before it begins to grow, and left in place for the full growing season. If this is the method chosen, it is essential that the covering is very well-weighted to prevent it from blowing away.