Brace Yourself: Japanese Knotweed in Town

Processed with VSCO with 6 presetphoto: taken at Glendon Campus

Japanese Knotweed is one of the many plants introduced to us by Dawn during our Glendon Tour. Japanese knotweed is an aggressive invasive species that originated from eastern Asia, specifically Japan. It was introduced to North America in the 1800’s as an ornamental species and a solution for erosion control. Since its introduction in the 1800’s, it has spread throughout the united State and Canada.

In Canada, this invasive species is found from Ontario to Newfoundland as well as British Columbia. Sightings of the plant in British Columbia were specifically found in Squamish and Burnaby. In Ontario, it is mostly found in southern and central areas where it grows in gardens, roadsides and near old buildings or building sites.

This plant was named as: “The terrorist of the weed world” by CBC radio. This is because, Japanese knotweed grows very aggressively that is pulls down property values. In addition, this plant spread quickly such that it creates dense thickets which causes a deterioration in wildlife habitats. It also reduces plant biodiversity by competition with native vegetation. This aggressive plant develops strong root system that it is able to break through asphalt and concrete. If it establishes a population along riverbanks, it can destroy the foundation holding the banks together and causes soil erosion.

Here is a video that shows how Japanese knotweed can cause property damage: 

It may all seem downhill from here but there is still hope! Aphalara itadori, a jumping plant louse or psyllid, was recently found to be a possible solution to the domination of the Japanese knotweed. With 250 million years of age, this primitive bug can feed on specific plants. Aphalara itadori is considered to be one of the 236 possibilities for pest control.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent the invasion of Japanese Knotweed in your life:

  1. Learn what they look like and how to identify them. This plant is usually mistaken for bamboo.
  2. Don’t ever buy or plant Japanese Knotweed.
    • it is actually illegal to buy, sell, trade or purposely grow Japanese Knotweeds
  3. Do not compost Japanese knotweed in backyard composters.
    • the seeds could survive and grow in compost

For more information visit the following sites used as references for this blog post:

 

 

 

 

 

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