Knotweed invasion, RHS seed range, new veg for 2018
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