Japanese Knotweed has been found in the hedge that separates the development I live on and our neighbour’s property.
Does this mean I won’t be able to sell my property? (BD)
Japanese knotweed is described by the Environment Agency as ‘indisputably the UKs most aggressive and destructive plant’
Mail Online’s property expert Myra Butterworth replies: ‘Mention the words ‘Japanese Knotweed’ to any homeowner and it may well trigger nightmares.
‘This is because the aggressive plant has the potential to spread across land and make it unsaleable – as it can make it difficult for any buyers to get a mortgage on a property.
‘The good news is that the spreading of the plant can be stopped. However, it can be extremely costly – at around £2,500 for a 10 sq m area for a herbicide treatment or £5,000 for a 10 sq m area for an excavation.’
‘Many lenders will lend on such properties if the plants are being treated and a guarantee can be provided. You need to speak directly to a mortgage lender or good broker about this, as they will be used to dealing with the scenario
‘Buyers may still be put off, but ensuring that you get this guarantee and are able to provide them with it should help to allay their fears.’
‘We asked a specialist what you can do?’
Nic Seal, managing director of Japanese knotweed removal specialist Environet UK, says: ‘First of all, despite all the scare stories, don’t panic. Although Japanese knotweed is described by the Environment Agency as ‘indisputably the UKs most aggressive and destructive plant’, it can be dealt with.
‘It grows up to 10 cm per day between May and July, pushing up through asphalt, cracks in concrete, driveways, cavity walls and drains in its quest for light and water.
‘You need to be aware that if you intend to sell your property, you will need to declare the fact that the property is affected by Japanese knotweed, and this might make it more difficult for your buyer to obtain a mortgage, and hence affect the property’s value.
‘For this reason you need to call in professionals. They should be able to identify the original source, and advise whether you have a possible claim against the adjoining owner to claim damages and costs against them. They should also be able to advise on the best way to eradicate the knotweed.
‘It’s likely that a herbicide treatment programme over a number of years will be the most cost effective. However, it’s necessary to tackle both the knotweed in the hedge and in the woodland, otherwise it will spread back. It’s very difficult to kill the entire root system with herbicide, so don’t be surprised if you get re-growth – a perennial plant posing a perennial problem.
‘The other alternative is to physically remove the knotweed rhizome (or root) by excavating the affected area under controlled conditions, and installing a vertical root barrier along the affected boundary.
‘This will prevent the knotweed encroaching back onto your land, and mean you don’t need any co-operation from the owner of the woodland. It’s a quicker method and more likely to succeed, but it is more expensive, and potentially more disruptive.
‘Whichever method you choose, it’s essential to choose a professional company who can provide a 10-year insurance backed guarantee, the minimum requirement to satisfy most banks and building societies if you or a future buyer wants to secure a mortgage on the property.’