For some confluence of reasons I’ve yet to adequately clarify, the role of inspecting reports of Japanese Knotweed around the whole Borough has now fallen in my lap like an ugly and unwanted child (OK, yes, I need to work on my similes). I’ve spent hours I don’t have to spare over the last few months chasing up reports from the public and on at least 50% of occasions, this has turned out to be a wild goose chase*. So before you do pick up the phone or write a missive to your local greenspace manager, it might be worth playing a little game I’ve devised: Hey! That’s not knotweed!
“I’ve just spotted some Japanese Knotweed in one of the lovely formal gardens on the Park. You must come and get rid of it immediately before it overtakes the bedding!”
Hey! That’s not Knotweed! – It’s a Sunflower! Give it a while and it’ll have a nice flower on the top.
“There’s Knotweed creeping all up the fence on the edge of your reserve and if it gets into my property, I’m going to sue you!”
Hey! That’s not Knotweed! – It’s a Bindweed! The creeping part being the clue.
“There’s a band of Knotweed in the hedge along the boundary of the Pavilion. Can you please make sure it is removed immediately.”
Hey! That’s not Knotweed! – It’s Dogwood! It is the boundary hedge, you berk.
“There’s a whole heap of Knotweed growing in with the nettles on the edge of the woodland. It would be a shame if this colonised the rest of the site because of your neglect.”
Hey! That’s not Knotweed! – That’s a dock. Leave it alone.
“We’ve got little stems of Knotweed coming up all through the woodland. It’s everywhere!”
Hey! That’s not Knotweed! – Come on, you’re not even trying now. That’s Sycamore. Which, yes, actually I will still remove that though.
“I’ve got Japanese Knotweed in my garden, can you please come and remove it or I wont be able to sell my house.”
Hey! That’s…actually, that is Knotweed, but it’s your bloody house, why are you calling me?
But yes, Japanese Knotweed is a massive pain and can be a right arse to eradicate. The level of hysteria it causes is beginning to become vastly disproportionate to the amount of damage it can cause though. This is particularly evident in householders (which I am aware is not always the householders fault). Before reporting though, please do take a minute to check that you know what you are looking at and for the love of God, please do not think that threatening me with legal action is actually going to make the stuff disappear any quicker.
*A point of interest – why Wild Geese? Are they particularly hard to chase? Judging by the fat greylags on some of my sites, I can’t imagine they are.