Cardwell’s Survival Guide to Beat the Boredom – Part 11

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Cardwell’s Survival Guide to Beat the Boredom – Part 11

Don’t let this weed tie you in knots

Lockdown may be easing, but if you’re still spending a lot of time at home, a good way of beating any boredom, keeping active and getting some fresh air is by getting out into your garden. Here are some handy hints from our gardening expert, George Irvine. Here’s what he’s saying this week:

One of the worst weeds many gardeners encounter in their gardens is the dreaded Japanese Knotweed.

Japanese Knotweed – or Fallopia Japonica to give it it’s botanical name – is a rapidly spreading weed and in winter the plant dies back to ground level.

But by early spring or early summer the bamboo-like stems emerge from rhizomes deep underground and the new shoots can soon grow to two metres suppressing all other plant growth in it’s vicinity.

Japanese Knotweed is a very fast clump-forming perennial plant and it sports heart-shaped or shovel-shaped leaves, which are around six inches long. Creamy white flower tassels are produced in late summer and early autumn and these reach about six inches in length. The weed can grow to monstrous heights if left unchecked and can end up like something from the Day of the Triffids.

The weed spreads by underground rhizomes at an alarming rate and causes a lot of destruction to underground sewers, pipes and can even adversely affect the value of property.

Eradication is extremely difficult either by hand, or by using chemical methods. The weed is subject to much government regulation and can only be transported by specialist carriers. The Japanese Knotweed can be such a problem if it is allowed to grow over a wide area, specialist contractors have to be brought in to remove the weed

For the small garden however, the knotweed can be controlled either by hand, or by chemical methods. And once you get the weed out of the ground, under no circumstances should you put it into a compost bin or a garden-waste brown bin.

Garden chemicals such as glyphosate-based weed-killers, like Round-Up can be used, but it will take several years to get rid of the Knotweed entirely. Non glyphosate based weedkillers like SBK can also be used, but the main aim here is to control and prevent the spread of the weed.

You should speak to your local authority to find out the best way to dispose of any waste material and, again, it must not go into any of your bins.

A knotty problem – if you pardon the pun – which will take a lot of sustained effort to get rid of completely. And I speak from experience!

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