What are Invasive Weeds?

Japanese Knotweed and invasive weeds pushing through concrete A non-native plant that spreads rapidly and causes damage to the environment. Left untreated, these weeds can affect the biodiversity of a location and even cause damage to property.

Are invasive weeds illegal?

Not necessarily. Japanese Knotweed can be contained within your garden. But according to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014, if the weeds have a "detrimental effect of a persistent or continuing nature on the quality of life of those in the locality", then you may be liable to control them.

As stated in the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, it is an offence to cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild. Therefore, plant material and contaminated soil must be disposed of correctly.

What should I do if I think I have an invasive weed on my property?

Identification is important. Once you know what it is, you'll be able to plan on how to remove, dispose and prevent further spreading. Feel free to send us a picture of your weed and we will identify it at no cost.


Identifying Japanese Knotweed

Originally from Asian, this weed thrives in European conditions. Japanese Knotweed slows in winter, but due to its hardy roots, it lays in wait until the warmer weather returns. Coming back even stronger, it can spread to almost anywhere. The shoots are able to crack through concrete, affect drains and undermine the foundations of a building. It can therefore affect the value of a property if found within close proximity.

With regular care and a lot of effort, one can keep this weed under control. But if you require a permanent solution, talk to Gaia Environment. With our specialist techniques, we can make your property Japanese Knotweed free and keep you within the law.

If you are unsure if you have Japanese Knotweed, simply send a photograph of the suspected plant to us and we will confirm the identity for you. It is helpful for us if you provide a general photo of the plant and two detailed ones – in particular a photo of the leaves and a photo of the base of the stems. We provide this service for free.

Identifying Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed contains toxic sap that can cause severe burns. At 20ft tall with dinner table sized leaves Giant Hogweed is an impressive plant that was once planted in gardens. However, it is highly invasive and has spread throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, primarily favouring river banks but also other areas such as parks, cemeteries and wasteland.

The sap of Giant Hogweed contains toxic chemicals known as furanocoumarins. When these come into contact with the skin, and in the presence of sunlight, they cause a condition called phyto-photodermatitis: a reddening of the skin, often followed by severe burns and blistering. The burns can last for several months and even once they have died down the skin can remain sensitive to light for many years.

Every year there are press articles about gardeners, contractors, ramblers, children and others that have been hurt by this plant.

Identifying Himalayan Balsam

This weed is considered 'naturalised', having been in the U.K. since 1839. Himalayan Balsam can spread to gardens, but is generally found on riverbanks and wasteland. It grows tall and spreads rapidly, making it impossible for other vegetation to survive nearby.