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Environmental Health

Invasive Plants

Recognising and dealing with invasive plants.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowRecently there has been an increasing number of enquiries about Japanese Knotweed in East Renfrewshire.

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is an invasive plant first introduced in the 19th century as an exotic garden plant. It is herbaceous (it dies back in winter), with heart shaped leaves on tall (2 - 3m) stems which have red streaks or spots along their length.

Does Japanese Knotweed cause damage?

The underground stems (rhizomes) can cause damage to property such as paths, garden walls, drains and building foundations. For this reason some mortgage lenders will refuse a loan if there is Japanese Knotweed in the vicinity of the property. Surveyors will include this in a home report.

How do I get rid of Japanese Knotweed on my land?

There are a number of options to control Japanese Knotweed. You can employ one of the many specialist weed control companies to do this for you but you should ensure they are reputable, insured and licensed. You should not try to dig the plants out as it is very difficult to ensure total removal of all the parts and this may cause further spread of the plants. The best method is to spray the plants with a garden herbicide containing "Glyphosate" in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. This will take several seasons to completely eradicate the plants but is the safest and cheapest method.

My neighbour has Japanese Knotweed, what do I do if it comes onto my land?

There is no law to force land owners to do anything about Japanese Knotweed on their land. If the plants do spread onto your land you can take civil action for a private nuisance but it would probably be better just to talk to your neighbour about the issue. If you believe the neighbouring property belongs to the Council please contact us with the details.

Can I put Japanese Knotweed in my brown recycling bin?

Japanese Knotweed is a "special waste" and should not be put in your brown bin. Your bin may not be emptied if it is seen to have Japanese Knotweed in it.

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser windowIn several areas around East Renfrewshire there are stands of Giant Hogweed.

What is Giant Hogweed?

Giant Hogweed is an ornamental plant introduced to the UK in the late 19th century for use in gardens. It is a biennial (lasts for 2 years) with large serrated dark green leaves on thick bristly stems reaching up to 5 metres in height. The plants is spread by seeds, particularly along river banks.

I've heard that it is dangerous. Is this true?

Yes. Contact with the sap of Giant Hogweed makes the skin sensitive to Ultra Violet light from the sun. This will cause blistering and severe sunburn in anyone exposed. This condition can last for life.

If I find Giant Hogweed what do I do?

You should keep clear of the plants and keep children away from them. The plants can be killed by treating with herbicide. The best method is to spray the plants with a garden herbicide containing "Glyphosate" in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. It is best to do this before the flowers set seed, this will prevent its spread. Do not touch the plants with bare hands and protect your eyes.

Can I put Giant Hogweed in my brown recycling bin?

No! Giant Hogweed is a controlled waste. Because of the risk of contact with the plant once in the bin you must not put Giant Hogweed in your brown bin. This may cause harm to others not aware that it is there.

For further information please contact us through Customer First or call Protective Services on 0141 577 3782, e-mail: environmentalhealth@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.


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