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Knotweed invasion, RHS seed range, new veg for 2018

Amateur Gardening - - This Week In Gardening -

AS Trif­fid-like plants go, it is the stuff of night­mares – strik­ing fear into the most ex­pe­ri­enced house-buy­ers and con­fi­dent prop­erty in­vestors.

But the na­tion now has a handy tool avail­able to see if Ja­panese knotweed is grow­ing any­where near their home – or close to a prop­erty they in­tend to buy.

Five years ago the En­vi­ron­ment Agency launched an app called Plant Tracker to map the spread of in­va­sive weeds. And last month it hit a mile­stone, with more than 20,000 peo­ple hav­ing down­loaded it, and 6,000 Ja­panese knotweed trou­ble-spots high­lighted in the UK.

To date, high con­cen­tra­tions of knotweed have been re­ported in south Wales, London, Manch­ester, Leeds, Sh­effield, Glas­gow, Ed­in­burgh, New­castle­upon-Tyne, Birm­ing­ham and the south­ern tip of Corn­wall. Be­cause peo­ple have been us­ing their mo­bile phones to up­load knotweed sight­ings, records are said to have good ac­cu­racy, as the app uses a phone’s GPS to pin­point the ex­act lo­ca­tion.

Now, web-users can ex­am­ine ar­eas street-by-street, and see where knotweed has been re­ported in their neigh­bour­hood.

Ja­panese knotweed can breach brick walls, come up through Tar­mac, dam­age foun­da­tions and even get into homes.

It is such a threat that mort­gage lenders can refuse to ap­prove a loan on a prop­erty, and house-buy­ers will of­ten pull-out if a sur­vey de­tects the pres­ence of knotweed, even if it’s in a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty or nearby coun­try­side.

Data about out­breaks was gath­ered by peo­ple us­ing the Plan­tTracker app – the re­sult of a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage, Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales.

Ja­panese knotweed was in­tro­duced to the UK by the Vic­to­ri­ans as an or­na­men­tal plant. It was even used to sta­bilise em­bank­ments of canals and rail­ways.

Go to 8 plan­ttracker.org.uk to view the Ja­panese knotweed map.

The in­va­sive weed is a se­ri­ous threat to the value of prop­erty

Map of out­breaks

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