Invasive weeds are a fast growing problem for landowners and managers throughout the UK. Across commercial land, areas earmarked for development, public spaces and even water courses a range of plants are taking over, growing to the preclusion of our natural species and changing the way our native landscape should look.
Open your eyes and look around - at the roadside, on the verge, outside your front door, in the office car park - every piece of spare land that isn't looked after will be home to invasive plants of some type.
Whether they become a problem or not depends on how they are managed. They will be unsightly and can make areas appear unkempt, but they can also cause significant damage to structures and hard surfaces if ignored.
Invasive Weed Species
A pro-active attitude towards invasive weeds is essential. Know which ones will cause damage and know which ones you need to deal with quickly.
Invasive non-native species growing in their original habitats are usually controlled by a variety of natural pests and diseases. When these plants are introduced into new areas free from these growth inhibitors they become larger and more vigorous, invading natural habitats and outcompeting the plants and animals that normally live there.
In addition to the varieties shown on this page, we also deal with Marestail, Horsetail, Rosebay Willowherb, Nettles, Cotoneaster, Crocosmia. We aim to make your environment a better place.
Hogweed and Knotweed
The number of rivers, railway lines and roads that crisscross Alston, Cumbria and the UK make it ideal for the spread of invasive weeds such as Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed.
These plants were introduced to England as ornamental plants by Victorian gardeners. While they make unusual specimens in a garden, they will also rapidly spread, taking over large areas of land in a very short time.
Both species are now covered by legislation that makes it an offence to plant or allow plants to grow in the wild. However, it will take many years of work to completely control these weeds and all landowners need to take action.
Giant Hogweed presents a danger to the public as it produces a sap that, if it comes into contact with the skin in sunny conditions, will cause horrific blistering.
Hogweed spreads rapidly; each plant produces thousands of seeds, and only one plant needs to seed next to a river in order for it to spread for miles around.
Hogweed should be killed off before it flowers to prevent the seeds from forming.
While not presenting any direct danger to the public, Japanese Knotweed (which spreads by tiny pieces of root and sections of stem) grows to such a density that it prevents any other plants from growing.
It also destroys the structure of the soil, causing embankments and riverbanks to become unstable. It can even push up through tarmac and concrete, damaging pavements and dislodging slabs.
Soil contaminated with either plant should not be moved as this will encourage spread of the plant.
There are of course other species of invasive weeds, such as Ragwort and Himalayan Balsam, that cause various environmental and health problems.