Japanese knotweed: the plant that can slash house prices
People all over the UK are being hit by the scourge of the highly invasive plant Japanese knotweed. It's not only causing havoc in their gardens and elsewhere on their properties; it is even leading to drastic falls in the value of homes.
In recent months, the papers have been full of stories of distraught homeowners who were planning on selling their homes, only to realise they might get far less than they expected because Japanese knotweed was growing on the property. In one case, a couple in Cornwall launched legal action against the former owner of their holiday home because Japanese knotweed was growing nearby and slashed the value of their property by £50,000.
Incidents such as this and the financial fallout that follows are not isolated either. A recent survey found that, of those questioned, 20% had experienced a fall in their home's value because of Japanese knotweed growing on or near it. Also, one in 10 of those who took part in the survey said they had spent more than £4,000 trying to get rid of Japanese knotweed after it appeared on their property and started growing like wildfire.
Japanese knotweed property problems
Indeed, it is all of these difficulties with Japanese knotweed that cause people to run a mile when they're considering buying a new property and find it has the imported plant on it. Japanese knotweed was brought into the UK in the 1800s as an ornamental plant, but people soon grew weary of its rapidly growing ways and threw it out.
A YouGov survey carried out last year for Japanese knotweed eradication firm Environet found that the majority of potential home-buyers (78%) would not go ahead with a purchase if there was Japanese knotweed somewhere on the property. It's not just their own concerns that the plant might overgrow the property and possibly lead to structural damage, but they might well find it impossible to get a mortgage for the property in the first place.
If mortgage providers see in a surveyor's report that Japanese knotweed is present on a property, they will usually request that professional extermination be carried out before they approve a new application - and that the work must also include a solid guarantee. Homeowners who want to sell their properties and are trying to tackle Japanese knotweed on it themselves will usually find they're engaged in a losing battle - in terms of killing off the weed and attracting potential purchasers.
Eradicating Japanese knotweed for good
For the many people across the country wondering how to remove Japanese knotweed, the answer is almost always to not even attempt it yourself. Lots of people do, however, think they can easily get rid of a mere weed, only to realise months or even years down the line that all their eradication attempts have been futile. A simple Google search on how to remove Japanese knotweed may provide a host of DIY remedies, but as many have discovered to their eventual frustration, practically no home solution works. Even dousing this difficult weed with all kinds of weedkiller most likely will do little to stop its frenetic advance. It often just leads to tons of wasted time, money and effort.
It's because of the deep and wide root system of Japanese knotweed that specialist knowledge is needed to kill off this beast of a plant for good. If even a small part of the root, known as a rhizome, remains in the ground, it has the potential to start growing again. Expert eradication firms are able to use a variety of methods to ensure it dies off and does not come back. These include using herbicides that are not available to the public at garden centres, as well as dig-outs of the entire root network so that nothing is left.
Plus, with the best Japanese knotweed eradication firms providing insurance-backed guarantees to cover their work for up to 10 years, homeowners can breathe a big sigh of relief that their Japanese knotweed property problems are finally over.
Photo credit: Brian Green