How Japanese knotweed can cause serious problems

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Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that can cause major problems for homeowners. If you are buying a house and discover that Japanese knotweed is present on the property, there are strict rules about how to treat it. If you do not take the appropriate steps, you risk allowing your property to become overgrown, in addition to breaking government regulations.


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About the plant

In its native East Asia, the growth of Japanese knotweed is controlled by the local insect population. Unfortunately, Aphalara Itadori are not found in the UK. This means that Japanese knotweed can grow up to 10 centimetres a day in your garden, destroying bricks and concrete as well as other plants. You could find your walls, driveways and sewage systems ruined by Japanese knotweed. If you try cutting it down and throwing it in the compost, it may just grow again.

When identifying Japanese knotweed, there are a few features of note. The plant has a stem of red or purple with a pattern of zig-zags. It can be mistaken for bamboo, except for the colouring. The leaves are heart-shaped, whilst the flowers grow in white clusters. A homebuyer’s survey should identify it in any prospective property.


According to government statistics, Japanese knotweed can be found in every 6 square miles of the UK and would cost about £1.2 billion to be removed completely. The Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 makes planting Japanese knotweed or enabling it to spread an offence, while the Environmental Protection Act of 1991 classifies it as controlled waste with strict rules for its disposal.


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When you have a survey conducted as part of the house-buying process (for example, for a home buyers survey Cambridgeshire, you may look at home buyers survey Cambridgeshire), it may identify Japanese knotweed at the property. In this case, a mortgage lender may wish to commission a specialist report to assess its severity and formulate a plan for its removal. This report will generally be at the vendor’s expense.

Once Japanese knotweed has been identified, it is important to hire a specialist contractor to remove it. Without an approved contractor, your mortgage lender may become reluctant to provide a mortgage. This is why it is important to conduct the survey as soon as possible and take all necessary steps to deal with Japanese knotweed.

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