Removal of Japanese Knotweed

It may sound like the opening line from a blockbusting Hollywood disaster movie, but it’s true when we say that Britain is in the grip of an invasion, that the ground beneath our feet is, as you’re reading this, harbouring a wave of attack plants first created in the volcanic wastelands of Japan. Striking fear into the hearts of home and landowners up and down the country, this, interloping threat can jeopardise the survival of our way of life, or at least aspects of our homes and gardens. This superweed with humongous root systems can burrow down up to nine feet, with towering bamboo-like stems that grow four inches a day in peak season. If this wasn’t striking enough, Japanese knotweed can grow back from a mere fragment discarded in the soil.

Ok, so where did this ‘invasion’ come from?

As a quick historical summary, Japanese knotweed came into existence on the desolate slopes of Japanese volcanoes where it battled against hot ash and the noxious toxins found in the soil; which meant as a survival technique the knotweed would bury itself deep underground and return to the surface through three feet of ash once recharged. When the weed started appearing on the edges of Japan’s woodlands, in order to prosper in its new environs it had to up its game again as it sought to rub shoulders with 10 feet tall elephant grass. Rising to the challenge, Japanese knotweed evolved into one of the more statuesque weeds globally, recognised today as a plant able to thrive across the globe.

So, you might ask why you would want it removed, given that it’s such a plucky survivor of a plant, seen by many people as a rather attractive example of greenery. However, while it may in some ways be an attractive plant visually, Japanese knotweed has been described by the Environment Agency as “indisputably the UK’s most aggressive and invasive plant”. Acknowledging that it grows at a rate of up to 10 centimetres per day during the peak of its spring and early summer-time powers, the knotweed finds the least resistance-providing route to water and light sources, not prepared to let anything stand in its way.

“Aggressive and invasive” maybe, but it’s still a plant. Is it really that bad?

It might not sound as serious as some issues, but the thing is, if you value your property, then trust us when we say that you REALLY don’t want to cohabit with Japanese knotweed, especially when you consider that tens of thousands of pounds could realistically be wiped off the value of your property in the event of a surveyor finding the fast-moving weed within the perimeters of the building for sale. The presence of Japanese knotweed has been known to literally stop commercial builds or housing developments in their tracks; there are some real horror stories around on Google!

Removing Japanese knotweed, while complicated and time-consuming, isn’t impossible you’ll be relieved to learn. It also doesn’t mean making huge sacrifices, you’ll be reassured to hear. It does, however, mean taking action in a swift manner, like a rapid-response team would. Conveniently, acquiring the services of a crack commando-like team of experts in the Japanese knotweed removal field, such as JKSL, will aid your cause a great deal, as attempting to tackle the weed singlehandedly might easily worsen the situation. It doesn’t cost as much as you might think for an individual property, especially if caught early. That said, in light of the Government recently estimating that it would cost somewhere in the region of £2-2.5 billion to remove Japanese knotweed entirely from the UK, it’s clearly a major issue.

So, what can I do to get rid of it before it does real damage?

Well, you’re in luck, as there are various options available to you, especially as a client of a company with 14 years of experience in the field of Japanese knotweed removal and a 100% success rate guarantee to boot. Here at JKSL, we offer a 10-year, insurance-backed warranty with all Japanese knotweed removal work carried out. We perform the task of Japanese knotweed removal via tried and tested methods of eradication that we have been using for the past 14 years, operating 7 days a week and at both residential and commercial client properties situated the length and breadth of the UK. It’s worth noting that if you, or a less professional service, just hack away at Japanese knotweed, you can actually make the spread worse in the long run, so it’s important to do it right.

We offer five different ways of effectively combating the presence of Japanese knotweed; namely by chemical, excavation or MeshTech means of removal, or courtesy of on-site incineration or composting techniques. Below, you can read a quick overview of each of the individual ways in which JKSL routinely undertake Japanese knotweed removal on behalf of our client-base:

Chemical Removal of Japanese knotweed – Universally agreed to represent the most cost-effective process by which to eliminate Japanese knotweed from the urban, suburban and rural game, here at JKSL we offer a comprehensive programme of chemical treatment, robustly following industry-specified codes of practice when applying the means by which we eradicate the superweed. This means strictly keeping to both chemical and methodology stipulations as defined and approved by the Environment Agency and SEPA, overseen by qualified practitioners. You can find out more about the process on our Treatments page.

Excavation Removal of Japanese knotweed – Typically chosen as the best path of knotweed extermination to go down if and when timescales are a high priority in the mind of the client (therefore ruling out the alternative, and more lengthy chemical means of eradication). Excavation and subsequent relocation of rampant Japanese knotweed is another successful way by which to rid a landscape of the dreaded plant.

With regards to the relocating of the escalating weed, once all traces of the rhizome have been removed by our experienced team at JKSL, we ensure that the contaminated material is transported to a dedicated on-site waste management area or buried in an appropriate heat-welded geo-textile cell.  What’s more, we go to great lengths to avoid cross-contamination taking place while such processes are being carried out on client’s sites. Again, for further details of Japanese knotweed removal via excavation, please refer to the Treatments page.

MeshTech Removal of Japanese knotweed – This is a potentially more environmentally-friendly solution, designed to control the spread of Japanese knotweed here in the UK. This technology is designed and patented by Dr Eric Donnelly and JKSL. The method avoids the use of chemical treatments, leaving minimal footprints on the site where applied, with MeshTech also serving to protect fertile areas against the threat of soil erosion; with riverbanks particularly vulnerable to this when Japanese knotweed is prevalent. In addition to this, the local flora and fauna remains relatively unaffected as a consequence of physical impact of the MeshTech method,  a more environmentally-friendly alternative to herbicide treatment.

On-site Incineration for Effective Removal– In-situ disposing of Japanese knotweed is available in the form of the controlled burning of the plant, with the incineration procedure taking place within existing infested areas to reduce the risk of cross contamination. This application can only be performed once the Japanese knotweed strands have completely dried out.

Composting as an Effective Means of Removal – It’s now possible to systematically induce the process of composting in stacked Japanese knotweed, however heating of the material is a pre-requisite so as to encourage cellular breakdown. This can only be done in carefully managed situations, as suffice to say that under normal circumstances, Japanese knotweed will not compost as other plants will do when cut and stacked.


Biological treatments to eradicate Japanese knotweed are currently under trial, but not available to the public. These would involve employing more eco-friendly tactics which – as it stands – comprise of the use of knotweeds’ more naturally-occurring predators, namely psyllids. JKSL closely follow the work of CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International) and DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), who began the psyllid release programme in Spring 2010.


So, which removal method should I choose?

That all depends; it’ll probably take a site review to determine the best method. One thing for sure is that JKSL will be able to help you every step of the way, from identification, to treatment and removal if required. We’re passionate about our clients receiving quality professional support to ensure that they deal with the issue right, first time. If you want to speak to us in more depth about service, visit our Contact page to get phone and email details for your region.