The Japanese knotweed is a species of the buckwheat family. It grows well under moist and sunny areas such as gardens, lawns, roadsides, and river banks. The plant originated from Japan, then to the United Kingdom, and in the 19th century, it arrived in North America as a landscaping ornamental. Its features: bamboo-like canes, heart-shaped leaves, and its masses of flowers attracted the Westerners who grew it in their gardens. Later on, the wild plant spread all over the region like wildfire.
An advantage of the Japanese knotweed is that it doesn’t grow in forested regions. It prefers growing in areas inhabited by human beings taking advantage of the ample sunlight and crumbly soil resulting from human interference. This makes it easy for their roots to spread, covering a wide area quickly. There are numerous methods of Japanese knotweed eradication.
When To Uproot The Japanese Knotweed.
The strategy you intend to use to uproot the Japanese weed will determine when to undertake the process. If an area is highly infested with the Japanese weed, you will be required to uproot the plant several times during the year.
Spring: It is advisable to partake in smothering activities during the spring. Cutting of the weeds should be done in the summer. Digging the Japanese weed can be done at any time of the year, especially before employing the smothering strategy.
You can spray herbicides on the Japanese weed during the early fall or during the summer.
Uprooting The Japanese Knotweed.
While uprooting the Japanese weed, you will need the following tools:
1-Plastic garbage bags.
2-Herbicides and pesticides.
3- A rake.
4-A shovel to remove soil.
5-You will need pruners to trim the leaves.
6-A garden sprayer will come in handy.
7-Weights or rocks.
8-Tarps will be helpful during the uprooting process.
Smothering the Japanese weed using tarps.
When tarps surpass the Japanese weed, their growth is prohibited, and eventually, it dies naturally. This method works effectively during the spring when the plant is at its early stages of development.
Prepare The Area.
Ensure you remove debris from the area. Remember to chop down to the ground level all mature weed canes to help prepare the area.
Take caution while cutting the canes as the sharp edges on the canes can puncture the tarps.
Use Tarps To Cover The Area.
Depending on the size of the affected area, use enough tarps to ensure the whole place is fully covered. To prevent sunlight from penetrating the seams, try and overlap the tarps. You can use heavy materials or rocks to pressure the tarps, preventing them from being blown away or moving.
Trample Any New Shoots.
As time passes by, new shoots will emerge, and they might push the tarps. By walking over the tarps, you will successfully manage to trample the shoots. Due to a lack of enough sunlight, there will be minimal or no growth under the tarps.
Leave The Tarps.
The tarps should be left on the area for as long as it takes to ensure no more shots emerge and the plant has died. However, you can use the site over the tarps for gardening using a raised container.
Cutting Japanese Knotweed.
You can remove the Japanese knotweed by suppressing it though it might not get eradicated. Another option is cutting it back. To achieve maximum results, the method has to be used together with other Japanese Knotweed control methods.
Cut Down The Plant.
By cutting down the plant during the growing period, the plant will not photosynthesize as required, and eventually, it will die.
Gather The Cuttings.
After cutting the plant down, remember to gather all the cuttings to prevent them from sprouting again. The cuttings should be placed in a plastic bag and disposed of accordingly or burned.
As new shoots begin to emerge, repeat the process over and over.
Digging Up Japanese Knotweed.
When the shoots keep emerging vigorously, you can dig up the affected area and use other methods to fight the notorious Japanese knotweed.
Find The Rhizome Clumps.
Dig out the stems located underground that send up the emerging shoots (rhizome clumps). The stems are woody for plants that are well matured and are the same size as a human foot or even larger.
Safely Bag The Stems And Dispose Them Off.
Gather all rhizomes in that area and bag them in a plastic bag ready to be disposed. Be careful not to leave even a tiny piece as it will sprout to a new plant.
Use Herbicides To Remove The Japanese Knotweed.
A gardener can opt to use herbicides to kill the Japanese knotweed. Caution should be observed as the products are harmful to the environment, pets, and even humans. The herbicides may also kill other plants close to the weeds.
Choose An Effective Weed killer.
After getting the proper herbicide, carefully follow the instructions given in the user manual during the application process. Strictly adhere to the warning procedures provided by the manufacturer.
Carefully Spray The Weed Killer.
Masks and gloves should be used while applying the weed killer. The remaining amounts should be stored correctly and out of reach of children.