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Non Native Invasive Plants & Weeds

Invasive plants & weeds have been with us at least since Roman times, possibly even before that, but over the last 200 years the number of invasive species and the problems they cause has increased dramatically. 

Through Government legislation and the media, we have all become aware of the potential harm such invasive plants can cause to buildings, to the environment and even to human health.  In particular, invasive plants like Japanese knotweed, Bamboo and Buddleia are non-native invasive weeds that cause damage in the wild mainly by displacing native species, But for homeowners, they cause problems of a different kind such as loss of amenity space, potential damage to hard surfaces & boundary walls...even the property itself! This can even potentially lead to the davalueation of land/property and potential restrictions on mortgageability.

For these reasons, the Property Care Association has a membership sector group especially for Invasive weed control who provide specialist management services including identification, treatment, removal and re-vegetation.  When required their work can be covered by insurance-backed Guarantees, often required by mortgage lender

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The most notorious invasive plants & weeds

Undoubtedly some invasive plants are more notorious than others, either because they are thought to be damaging to buildings, prevent development and are difficult to manage (e.g Japanese knotweed, bamboo), or are harmful to human health (e.g Giant Hogweed), or cause restrictions to waterways (e.g. Floating pennywort).  But all non-native invasive weeds have one thing in common - they are all detrimental to wild habitats, reducing biodiversity and interrupting complex insect-plant relationships. 

Below are details for a selection of commonly encountered invasive plants.  If you want to know more, simply click on the sections/invasive plants of interest...

Japanese Knotweed

A very well known and publicised invasive plant, Japanese knotweed probably accounts for 90% of all PCA Invasive weed enquiries & is often the cause of problems with buying/selling a house or any land development projects.

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Japanese Knotweed Identification - Autumn growth - PCA

Giant Hogweed

Generally deemed to be ‘hazardous’ (& very painful) by skin contact (rashes, burns and blisters can arise following exposure to sunlight).  Giant Hogweed grows to a huge size and forms dense stands along roads, railway lines, and particularly along riverbanks.

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Giant Hogweed - looking up - PCA


Frequently planted as ornamentals, many Bamboo species have proved to be highly unsuitable for small (or even large) gardens!  So-called running bamboos can spread at alarming rates. These are ‘tough’ plants that potentially can lead to encroachment (boundary) issues or damage to paved surfaces and even buildings (akin to Japanese knotweed).

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Bamboo - growth near property - PCA

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is one of the most widespread invasive plants in the UK. It is usually found in damp areas or river banks, but it is capable of thriving in most places. Fortunately (for now), it is not a huge problem within residential areas and does not cause significant damage to buildings, but it does shade & crowd out many native species.  In areas where it dominates riverbanks, with its shallow roots which die back in winter, it can de-stabilise river banks leading to potential floods risks.

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Himalayan balsam 3 - PCA


A lot more common & widespread than most people realise, Buddleia has very efficient seed dispersal and an ability to colonise structures. It can cause damage to brickwork and can often be found in parapets, growing out of the sides or from the roofs of buildings, bridges, and is 'more or less' ubiquitous in railway structures.

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Buddleia - growing out of a Factory wall - PCA

The importance of Invasive weed control

Unfortunately, over time, invasive plants & weeds have become more commonplace in the UK. News stories highlighting their impact frequently appear and a large number of legal controls have been put in place.  The public in general are aware of the potential damage (and in some cases, harm) that invasive plants cause, both environmental, physical and financial! Some invasive plants have the potential to devalue land and property and even lead to the refusal of mortgages on properties that are blighted by them. 

The scale of the issue is huge and for home and landowners that may be affected, there are also potential penalties for allowing invasive plants to spread to neighbouring land.  On your own property some invasive plants can be costly to bring under control, especially when close to buildings or walls or in areas identified for development.

PCA's Invasive Weed Control Group

In order to help homeowners and fellow professionals to better understand invasive plants/weeds, the PCA created the 'Invasive Weed Control Group'. Working with & supported by the 'Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors' (RICS), 'The Council or Mortgage lenders' and the 'Building Society Association'; the PCA set up the Invasive Weed control group in 2012 with the aim of providing clear guidance and information to all and to point individuals to reliable, qualified and trustworthy invasive weed experts.  Click on the video to find out more...

Thinking you need a little more help?

If you are concerned about invasive plants/weeds on your property or possibly encroaching on your property, then many of our specialist PCA Invasive Weed members can help. Most will be happy to offer some guidance over the phone, and if you take some pictures, may be able to help you with identification. You can (of course) arrange a survey too.

To find a registered PCA specialist near you, simply use the search tool below

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Why use a PCA Member - Experts in their Sectors

Trustmark Protection

Because of the high standards of service and quality that is expected from PCA members, all PCA registered companies have Government's TrustMark accreditation.

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Amenity Standard Protection

The 'assured standard' for weed management practices that ALL PCA invasive weed members adhere to.

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