Map reveals hot spots for Japanese knotweed in Hull and East Yorkshire

It is the plant breeders who are perhaps most afraid. Japanese knotweed can be a huge headache for homeowners because of the damage it can cause to property and the cost of removing it.

The invasive plant, which can grow as high as 6 feet (2 meters), can reduce a home’s value by up to 10 percent, experts say, although the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors recently relaxed its knotweed rules. It also spreads quickly, growing to several inches per day by the height of summer.

Japanese knotweed hibernates for the winter and wakes up again in the spring, meaning now is the time to look for the warning signs before it turns into a nightmare. Now a new heatwave map has been released showing the worst hot spots for Japanese knotweed in the UK, including Hull and East Yorkshire.

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Environet, a specialist in dealing with invasive plants, created the map to inform people about the presence of Japanese knotweed in their area. According to the map, there are currently 50 recorded cases of Japanese knotweed within 2.5 miles of Hull city center, six in Beverley, three in Hessle and two in the Burstwick area.

In the rest of East Yorkshire, there have been isolated cases in towns and villages, including Hornsea and Driffield. Households can enter their zip code to see how many cases have been registered in their area.

The heatmap shows a concentrated hotspot in Hull
The heatmap shows a concentrated hotspot in Hull

Japanese knotweed was introduced to Kew Gardens in the UK in 1850. It was highly sought after for its beautiful flowers, but its fast-growing roots soon turned it into wild vegetation and it can now be found all over the country. The data behind the new map was generated from more than 50,000 known pests, with new observations added daily, Environet added.

Nic Seal, the founder of Environet, said: “Japanese knotweed tends to frighten the hearts of homeowners, but as long as they are aware of its presence and take action to remove it before it causes serious damage or spreads to a neighbor’s property, there is no need to panic.

“By publishing the 2022 hotspots, we hope to raise awareness and encourage people in the area to be vigilant for signs of knotweed as the growing season begins so they can act quickly if needed. If you live or move to one of these hotspots, it would be a good idea to check their yard carefully, enter their zip code into Exposed to see how many known occurrences there are in the area, and if in doubt seek expert help.”

What to do if you think you have seen the Japanese knotweed in your garden

  • If you find a suspicious looking plant, check out the identification guide on the Environet website.

  • A professional examination of Japanese knotweed will determine the extent of the infestation.

  • Professional treatment, such as herbicide or excavation, should be considered.

  • Home sellers must tell any potential buyer if a home has been compromised.

  • While it is not illegal to have knotweed on your land, you could be held liable if you allow it to spread to a neighboring property.

  • Home buyers can have a sniffer dog search for knotweed.

To see the Japanese knotweed map, visit the Environet website.

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