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What is Japanese Knotweed? Legislation, Environment Agency & the Law


We’re often asked ‘What is Japanese knotweed?’. Japanese knotweed is a tall, vigorous ornamental plant that escaped from cultivation in the late 19th century, to become an aggressive invader in the urban and rural environment.


Japanese knotweed is called a number of scientific names:


  • Fallopia japonica (Houtt Ronse Decraene)
  • Reynoutria japonica (Houtt)
  • Polygonum cuspidatum (Siebold & Zuccarini)


As a member of the dock family (Polygonaceae), Japanese knotweed is a rhizomatous (produces underground stems) perennial plant with distinctive, branching, hollow, bamboo-like stems, covered in purple speckles, often reaching as high as 2 to 3 metres. The leaves of the mature plant are up to 120mm in length, with a flattened base and pointed tip and are arranged on arching stems in a zig-zag formation.

Two species closely related to Japanese knotweed are also found in the UK. These are ‘Giant knotweed’ (Fallopia sachalinensis), a much taller plant which reaches a height of 5m and a smaller compact variety (Fallopia japonica var. compacta), which grows to a height of only 1m.


Japanese Knotweed Legislation


It’s worth noting that from a legal perspective, it’s not an offense to have Japanese knotweed growing on your land and it is not a notifiable weed. However, Japanese knotweed legislation may make the plant sound very scary! This is simply not the case – it’s simply a weed. In fact, we would be delighted to chat with you about how we can help solve any knotweed problems you may have.


Japanese Knotweed and the Environment Agency


The Environment Agency are keen to monitor and control Japanese Knotweed and have produced law making it illegal to move any aspect of the plant without proper controls first being in place.

Perfect Ground Solutions, based in Ware, Hertfordshire, adopt a simple and straight forward approach to helping you either contain or remove Japanese knotweed, with the minimum of fuss and expenditure.


Japanese Knotweed Law: The Facts


The following legal provisions may have consequences for those involved in the management of Japanese Knotweed:


  • The Control of Pesticide Regulations 1986
  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Controlled Waste Regulations 1991
  • The Environmental Protection Regulations 1991
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005
  • Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994


Thankfully, by using simple and effective knotweed management programmes, our clients do not have to worry about any of the above, as we take care of the complete activity, from identification to knotweed control and safe removal.


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