One of the more devious characteristics of Japanese Knotweed is that by its invasive nature it rarely is at peace. The giant rhizomes that can grow to depths of 3 metres or more store abundant food to enable the plant to be prepared for an early growth spurt as soon as the weather warms. Properties containing this species will notice that it is one of the first plants to come to life and one of the first plants to start expanding its territory when the growing season begins.
Winter does provide an excellent opportunity to identify existing Japanese Knotweed. Here are a few suggestions on what to look for and how to respond to Knotweed in Winter. Please note the tell-tale signs that you have Japanese Knotweed on your property.
Look for Canes – Japanese Knotweed canes can fool you. They will be darkish brown in Winter and may appear to be decomposing. If you know what to look for, you can easily identify the canes in Winter.
Intertwining Canes – The dark brown canes often appear to be collapsing and intertwining with each other. This is a symptom that is easy to spot but difficult to treat.
Old Canes Visible – You may see evidence of older canes during Winter. These could be canes from years past. The presence of these aged canes does not mean the Japanese Knotweed is dormant.
Next Season’s Shoots – While you may plainly see intertwining canes, you may also plainly see shoots for next season’s growth already beginning to appear. They are usually found underneath the decomposing foliage.
By Summer, evidence of Japanese Knotweed can be alarming. Here’s what to look for:
Rapid Growth – Japanese Knotweed will already be expanding by Summer. The plant will grow to heights of 2-3 meters by late Summer and will be well on the way by the end of June.
Dominating Density – The density of Japanese Knotweed will be on full display during Summer. The combination of height and density makes it almost impossible to ignore the plant. Just imagine that what you see above ground is also happening below the ground. Japanese Knotweed is aggressively spreading vertically and horizontally above and below ground at the same time. The plant’s dense cluster of bamboo-like stems is nearly impossible to miss. Panic could set in. If you have not already done so, contact a licensed Japanese Knotweed specialist.
Flowering – By late Summer, you will note what appear to be rather attractive small white flowers on the vines. Don’t let this appealing assortment of flowers fool you. You will probably note that the Knotweed has eliminated some of your favourite native flowers by this time. Flowering is usually most pronounced in August through October.
Hollow Stems – Old stems will look like bamboo but may split or break and will be hollow.
Speckled Stems – Japanese Knotweed stems in Summer are green and contain red speckles.
Identifiable Leaves – The leaves of the Japanese Knotweed plant are extremely distinctive. You will notice in Summer that the leaves are spread in a zigzag shape on the stem. Individual leaves have pointed tips and straight edges.
Let’s face it, even when Japanese Knotweed appears to be dormant, it is preparing for its Spring and Summer assault. This plant will seize every opportunity to expand. If there is the slightest gap in the home’s foundation, or in a walkway or pipe system, the plant will penetrate the opening and continue to grow.
Winter is an excellent season to identify the plant and contact a licensed removal contractor to commence the eradication of this invasive species. Act now!
For more information about our Japanese Knotweed and invasive species services, contact TP Knotweed today. Call 0800 389 1911 or contact us online today!