Japanese knotweed: How DOGS could help you root out dangerous plant
Japanese knotweed makes a resurgence during the spring and summer months every year and causes a blight on other plants in its area. While it is a nuisance for garden lovers, it also often comes with severe ramifications for people’s homes and even their health.
Japanese knotweed is often easy to spot, with thick bamboo-like stems that emerge from the undergrowth up to seven feet in height.
Knotweed canes develop a characteristic purple-blotched stem, and heart-shaped leaves, but are often mistaken for other plants.
Identifying them can also pose personal risks, and experts believe they have found a solution to root them out.
Japanese knotweed specialists Environet has employed well-trained dogs to seek out the plant.
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The organisation’s dogs have received training from sniffer dog specialists RFA Security Services.
RFA trains dogs to detect narcotics, explosives and find objects as small as bedbugs.
According to Propertywire.com, they can cover a potentially knotweed infested site in minutes, and Environet has hailed them for their effectiveness.
They now offer a free five-year guarantee to owners of residual property where the dogs – both one-year-old red fox Labrador retrievers – have not detected knotweed.
Nic Seal, founder and managing director of Environet said the dogs provide “high certainty” for homeowners.
He said: “Japanese knotweed is a growing problem for homeowners in the UK and misrepresentation cases are on the rise, where sellers have answered dishonestly about whether their property is affected or deliberately concealed the plant.
“It’s not uncommon for knotweed to be cut back prior to a survey and I’ve even seen cases where the seller has placed a membrane horizontally in the ground over a knotweed infestation and laid a lawn or pathway over the top.
“An Environet dog detection survey is the only way to say with high certainty that a property or site is clear of knotweed, offering peace of mind to buyers that there will be no nasty surprises further down the line.”
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Why is Japanese knotweed so bad?
Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant which property experts have noted causes damage to people’s homes if left unattended.
As such, it can knock tens of thousands of pounds of someone’s home value, and it is notably tough to kill.
Mortgage lenders will often refuse policies to people who have the weed present, and it is an offence to grow it deliberately under Schedule nine of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Ridding people’s garden of the weed requires the professional touch, as its roots run deep and it cannot be disposed of at a typical landfill site.
Contractors will use powerful weedkiller to destroy the plant, and treatments take place over several seasons, costing upwards of £1,000.
The PCA Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG) is the trade body for Japanese knotweed specialists and provides a register of vetted contractors.
While people can treat it on their own if they wish, they need to take precautions to ensure it doesn’t grow too much and can cause damage to
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