‘Be vigilant’: UK Japanese knotweed hotspots for 2022 unveiled – is your area affected?

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As the Japanese knotweed growing season begins, invasive plant specialist Environet UK has unveiled the hotspots for 2022 using data from its online tracker, Exposed: The Japanese knotweed heatmap. It has discovered 10 areas in the UK where residents may see the spread of the invasive weed.

In Bolton, Greater Manchester, there have been 684 infestations within a four kilometre radius, meaning it takes the number one spot in the research.

Bristol came second, with 475 infestations of Japanese knotweed and St Helens in Merseyside came third, with 441 known knotweed cases.

In Lancashire, residents of Blackburn should look out for the invasive weed as the research reports there have been 407 cases.

Capel Garmon, Snowdonia in Wales came fifth on the list, with a reported 398 cases, shortly followed by Llanelli with 389.

Cardiff in Wales had a reported 361 infestations with a four kilometre radius, while Rotherham in Yorkshire had 306.

Streatham in South West London also made the list with 300 infestations, while Nottingham and Sheffield came in joint 10th place with 225 cases.

Top 10 Japanese knotweed hotspots in 2022:

1. Bolton, Greater Manchester

2. Bristol

3. St Helens, Merseyside

4. Blackburn, Lancashire

5. Capel Garmon, Snowdonia, Wales

6. Llanelli, South Wales

7. Cardiff, Wales

8. Rotherham, Yorkshire

9. Streatham, South West London.

10. Nottingham and Sheffield

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Knotweed is identified by its heart-shaped leaves and white flowers it produces in summer.

It hibernates over winter and in early spring it begins to emerge, with it spreading rapidly by spring.

The stem hardens into bamboo-like structures.

For homeowners, the plant can pose serious problems if left unchecked, with the potential to grow up through cracks in concrete, tarmac driveways, pathways, drains and cavity walls.

The roots can grow as deep as three metres and spread up to seven horizontally.

Having knotweed in your back garden can also decrease the value of your property, by as much as 15 percent.

According to Environment’s research, approximately five percent of homes are currently affected by knotweed, either directly or indirectly, but sales can proceed as long as a professional treatment plan is in place.

Nic Seal, founder and Managing Director of Environet, said: “Japanese knotweed tends to strike fear into the hearts of homeowners but as long as they’re aware of its presence and take action to remove it before it causes any serious damage or spreads to a neighbour’s property, there’s no reason to panic.

“By publishing the 2022 British Japanese knotweed hotspots, we hope to raise awareness and encourage people in the area to be vigilant for signs of knotweed as the growing season takes off, so they can act quickly if needed.

“Anyone living near or moving to one of these hotspots would be wise to check their garden carefully, enter their postcode into Exposed to find out how many known occurrences are nearby and if in doubt, seek expert help.”

For households who think they may have Japanese knotweed, professional treatment should be arranged.

Sellers are also legally obliged to tell any potential buyer if a property has been affected by knotweed, even if it has already been treated.

For anyone buying a property and want to make sure it’s clear of knotweed, a detection dog survey can be arranged.

To view Japanese knotweed infestations in your area or to report a sighting by uploading a photo to be verified by experts, visit: https://environetuk.com/exposed-japanese-knotweed-heat-map.

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