Japanese knotweed 'running rampant' after heatwave, warn worried homeowners

·3 min read
Dennis Hodson, whose home backs onto Brickfields Park, said he has informed council workers about Japanese knotweed growing over his garden but nothing has been done (SWNS)
Dennis Hodson, whose home backs onto Brickfields Park, said he has informed council workers about Japanese knotweed growing over his garden but nothing has been done. (SWNS)

Residents of a Worcestershire town say Japanese knotweed is running "rampant" in their gardens and threatening to knock thousands of pounds off the value of their homes.

Locals living near Brickfields Park, Worcester, say the invasive plant has spread rapidly as a result of last week's heatwave.

They have criticised the council for repeatedly ignoring their pleas for help to stop the “eyesore” weed from invading their homes.

Retired gardener Dennis Hodson, 73, lives in a £200,000 bungalow in Tunnel Hill which backs onto the park.

He said: “The knotweed has gone rampant in the park and it’s coming up in our gardens now, including mine which is just 20 metres away. It's a bit of a nightmare.

Japanese knotweed is growing in a Worcester park and spreading into neighbouring gardens (SWNS)
Japanese knotweed is growing in a Worcester park and spreading into neighbouring gardens. (SWNS)

“It’s getting to about six foot tall in the park and I’ve tried calling the council, but they haven’t done anything.

"The plant is just about to seed which will spread it even further. The time to act is now.

“I also spoke to groundsmen in the park and they told me it wasn’t anything to do with them.

“Two or three years ago they used to cut it back, which is never going to get rid of it, but now they’re not even doing that.

“I managed to remove it from my borders a few years ago using a strong weed killer but it just comes back.”

Another resident said: “The knotweed just keeps getting closer and closer to our homes.

“It’s like a scene from The Day of the Triffids and the mixture of the very hot weather and then heavy rain has just made it grow out of control. The council do nothing to help and we all worry about the impact it’s having on the value of our homes.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to buy a house which is at risk of being taken over by this thing.”

Residents fear the fast-growing plant will knock thousands of pounds of the value of their properties unless the problem is tackled (SWNS)
Residents fear the fast-growing plant will knock thousands off pounds of the value of their properties unless the problem is tackled. (SWNS)

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Japanese knotweed is the most common of four invasive plants species in the UK and was introduced to the country from Japan as an ornamental plant in 1825.

The plant can grow 10cm a day and cause severe damage to buildings and infrastructure if left unchecked.

It can also make it significantly harder for homeowners to secure a mortgage or sell their home.

Once the weed is established, it is so difficult to get rid of that experts treat cuttings as licensed hazardous waste.

A spokesperson for Worcester City Council said: “We are aware of the Japanese knotweed growing at King George V Playing Fields and our specially-trained staff will stem-inject the plants in the coming days.

"It will take a few weeks to die off and we will do a follow-up treatment in a month and another next year to ensure it is dealt with.

“If this Japanese knotweed has spread to properties from the playing fields, residents can get in touch with us and we can treat it accordingly.”