The worst exposed Japanese knotweed hotspots in the UK — and how to get rid of it

Bolton has 684 infestations within a 2.5 mile radius of the city center while Bristol has 475 and St Helens has 441.

Streatham, in south-west London, is the only location in the top 10 in Greater London, ranking ninth with 300 recorded infestations.

Nic Seal, chief executive of Environet, a company that removes invasive plants, said rapid urbanization and a defeatist attitude towards the species are responsible for its increasing prevalence in the North West and Wales.

He said the plant had become such a scourge in the area that many believed it was too widespread to begin combating.

Urbanization contributes to the spread of Japanese knotweed

Increased urbanization has also meant that more soil has been moved from one site to another, allowing the plant – which can regrow from a lone finger-sized piece of root – to find new areas to take over.

“I think the reason we’re seeing it a lot more often in cities is because there’s more and more human ground movement,” he told The Telegraph.

“A lot of this I would say goes back to the second world war where huge amounts of material were buried, moved around, bombed etc and obviously there is still a huge amount of weed in London.

“There’s a lot of that in Wales too, and I think that’s because for many, many years the attitude has been, ‘well, there’s so much around that we can’t do anything about it’.

“Also because the soil values ​​in the area are quite low, there is no financial incentive to dig them up completely instead of just using herbicides to keep them under control.

“If there were a million pound house in London we would probably say the value of the property justifies properly clearing the infestation, which means digging it up. So that could be a charge of ten grand for a £1,000,000 house.

“But if you were to do the same in, say, Swansea, that house could be worth £100,000 so the treatment looks quite expensive.

“So in properties like this you would just opt ​​for herbicide treatment and control it that way. But control doesn’t kill it, and it certainly doesn’t kill everything needed to prevent its spread.” The worst exposed Japanese knotweed hotspots in the UK — and how to get rid of it

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