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15 Years of Japanese Knotweed

Life is odd…. I can confirm that this is the case having spent the last 20 years of it dealing with something that I stumbled on by accident.

People have often said to me… ‘oh you must have been very clever to have spotted the opportunity to set up a business dealing with Japanese Knotweed!’.

Now that would suggest that I was sat in a chair with some thick glasses on my head …just thinking about where I could create a successful business. It makes me sound like I dismissed loads of other ideas and focused on this gem of a business opportunity – because I realised the potential that lay ahead.

Not really.

I’m not that clever, i just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Right place, right time – and with the right team …with the right skill set to deal with the problem.

What you have to realise here… is that 15/20 years ago – there wasn’t anybody dealing with Japanese knotweed.

Hardly anybody new what it was and even fewer knew what to do with the plant if you were unfortunate enough to have it on your land.

We are talking here about a series of fortuitous events that happened nearly eighteen years ago… let me take you back in time …

It was 1998 it was a long hard year…times were tough and money was scarce. I employed a team of skilled laborer’s but work was hard to find…

…then everything just seemed to click into place…

1.  We were employed as Landscape Architects on a site on the outskirts of Manchester which had been noted to have a serious issue with a very invasive plant. Nobody really knew what it was or how to deal with it …but because it was seen as a ‘landscape issue’ it came under my remit on the project

2.  The first approach to dealing with this new problem was to map and survey where the plants were growing. We knew how to do this as we were skilled in tree survey and identification of plant species.

3.  To keep the plants less viable it was decided to spray with a foliar herbicide – we already employed a team of spray operatives as we had a series of landscape maintenance projects.

4.  A new herbicide was being made available for trials which was a ‘residual’ herbicide – ‘Tordon 22K’ -the sales rep knew one of my team and made the product available to us.

5.  Several areas that were impacted by the Japanese Knotweed needed to be moved immediately – and this required use of heavy machinery. Our operatives were already trained and qualified in the use of heavy machinery and we had drivers with years of experience – digging and following root systems came naturally to them.

6.  Some areas required laying of a root barrier to prevent spread of fragmented rhizome – we were used to laying of pond liners and quickly adapted to laying of this new material.

Having successfully completed this project our name was passed from one project to another and suddenly our phones just didn’t stop ringing.

The skill set that we had for designing and building landscape works were an ideal cross over to the skills required for Japanese knotweed eradication – and so a new business was born – Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd was registered for business in 2002 and we simply haven’t looked back since.

Weird.

Mike C