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Japanese Knotweed

Advice on identifying, controlling and disposing of Britain's most invasive plant

Japanese Knotweed is a fast-growing plant. It grows up to 20cm a day and has a root system that can extend three metres in depth and seven metres in all directions.

Japanese Knotweed is estimated to cost £165 million a year to control in the UK.

Identifying Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed:

  • produces fleshy red tinged shoots when it first breaks through the ground
  • has large heart or spade-shaped green leaves
  • has leaves arranged in a zig-zag pattern along the stem. The stem is hollow, like bamboo
  • can form dense clumps that can be several metres deep
  • produces clusters of cream flowers in late summer
  • dies back between September and November, leaving brown stems.

Responsibility for controlling Japanese Knotweed

Responsibility for controlling Japanese Knotweed rests with the landowner or occupier of the land. They do not have to remove the plant from their land but could be prosecuted if they allow it to spread onto someone else's property.

We take appropriate action when Japanese Knotweed is found on our land and open spaces.  This involves minimising the risk of it spreading and aiming to eradicate it in line with good practice. Our grounds maintenance contractor has been trained in identifying the weed and treating it accordingly. If you think you find Japanese Knotweed growing on our land, please email info@fenland.gov.uk. Unfortunately we cannot assess knotweed on land we are not responsible for. 

We can also consider efforts to control the weed when determining planning applications. If we become aware that it is present on a site, appropriate planning conditions may be imposed if permission is granted.

Getting rid of Japanese Knotweed

Please do not try to cut the weed down, mow or strim it. This will make it spread. 

Japanese Knotweed cannot be placed in your green bin, brown bin or be taken to a recycling centre. It must be disposed of as 'controlled waste' because of how easily it spreads. 

Government guidance explains how to control and dispose of Japanese Knotweed through chemical spraying and burning. Links are given to local controlled waste carriers who can dispose of the weed legally. 

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