This year’s unseasonably hot spring could lead to a proliferation in Japanese knotweed, homeowners have been warned.
With Easter Monday temperatures of 25 degrees recorded in West London, the advice is to look out for signs of the pesky plant and seek professional help if you find any.
Over the past two decades, the invasive weed has been blamed for everything from halting mortgage offers to knocking billions off house prices. But while Japanese knotweed flourishes in warm and wet conditions, the advice is that it can be tackled if treated properly.
Japanese knotweed is regarded a threat because its roots can push through cracks in concrete walls and drains. A mature plant creates a network of underground rhizomes, which spread rapidly and can be difficult to kill. It is an offence to allow knotweed to encroach upon neighbouring property.
Cobley’s Solicitors, who specialise in knotweed infestation cases, say they have seen a ‘spike’ in enquiries about the plant this year. Solicitor, Mark Montaldo said: “This is at a time when people are typically getting out into their gardens and also one of the busiest times for new houses going onto the market. People are noticing the weeds and are worried about the risk of structural damage and how knotweed can affect their house price.
“As this warmer weather is likely to lead to a spread of knotweed, we’d advise people to use this as an opportunity to get outdoors and identify it on their own land and neighbouring properties, and then seek professional support as it’s also illegal to dig up and improperly dispose of knotweed.”
You can identify Japanese knotweed by looking for its stems, which are similar to bamboo but with green with purple flecks throughout. The plant also has large, shovel-like leaves, which are yellow and brown in spring, before turning green in summer. The weed produces small white flowers in autumn.
It may be difficult to secure a mortgage if Japanese Knotweed is within 20 metres of a property. However, having a treatment plan from a specialist company in place will help.
Read more about this story on the What Mortgage website.