Japanese Knotweed has recently made national headlines, as Network Rail were found liable in the Court of Appeal, for damage from untreated Japanese Knotweed spreading into neighbouring gardens. Japanese Knotweed is one of Britain’s most invasive plants and the prevention of its spread is a legal obligation for landowners under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is difficult and expensive to manage but non-intervention is not really an option. Early treatment of a new colony is quicker, cheaper and preferable to leaving it to become established.
Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians in the mid 1800s. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have a record of receiving a plant specimen, sent unsolicited by a keen botanist overseas, on 9 August 1850. The earliest record of a nurseryman selling the plant was in 1854, when neighbouring Kingston nurserymen Messrs Jackson and Son started trading in it , hopefully not relatives of our Matt Jackson! Surrey’s famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll even recommended the planting of a dwarf version in some of her designs, although she later rescinded, saying it should be “planted with caution.”
Well caution was perhaps an understatement Continue reading