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19 May 2023 < Back

Invasive Species Week may be ending…but it doesn’t stop us learning!

As National Invasive Species Week 2023 comes to a close, for all homeowners and professionals out there, we do hope you have found our posts, blogs, videos and other content shared useful and that you have gained a few insights, knowledge…and perhaps, a solution to an invasive issue you may have.  

But, as much as Invasive Species Week is coming to an end this year, it does not mean we all can’t continue to try and protect our gardens, environments and homes; and if you are a professional, why you can't continue your knowledge/learning journey.  

So, before we finish off our support for this week, here are some helpful tips and guidance for both homeowners and professionals which we hope will be of value...

Homeowners - 4 tips for managing invasive plants

1. Research your plants. Many plants available in garden centres and nurseries are listed as ‘Invasive Species’. This does not make it illegal to have them in your garden, but it does mean you should prevent them from spreading into ‘the wild’. If you purchase an invasive plant, then plant wisely. Many of todays invasive species, including some bamboos and Giant Rhubarb are garden ornamentals ‘gone wild’. For example, a ‘running’ bamboo species could be planted well away from a neighbouring property, or within suitable containers to restrict its spreading capabilities.

2. If you have invasive plants, manage them: Some popular plants spread rapidly via underground rhizomes or bulbils. Once they are planted you will need to keep them in check to ensure they do not spread to your neighbour’s garden. For example, with the management of Himalayan balsam, trimming or pruning will ensure the plant is unable to produce the flower and seed pods needed to spread.

3. Check your soil when digging: If you are digging over areas that contain invasive plants, do not put the soil in your green bin or compost heap unless you have checked the earth and carefully removed the propagules (the parts of plants which give rise to new plants). If you don't, you could be unwittingly spreading a regulated invasive species and breaking the law.

4. Unsure? Sources of help: If you are at the stage of considering purchasing a plant but are concerned it is invasive, you can always check by looking at the ‘Wildlife & Countryside Schedule 9 List of Invasive Plants’. If you are struggling to manage an invasive plant or your building/home is unfortunately being impacted by invasive plants/weeds, then there are professionals wo can help. Specialist PCA invasive weed members will be happy to offer advice and guidance over the phone and, if you have pictures, will be happy to look at those before confirming if you need to book a survey. To find a registered PCA specialist near you, simply click to use the local search tool. 

Tips for professionals

TOP TIP FOR SURVEYORS & PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS

Our suggested top tip is to broaded your knowledge on more than just Japanese knotweed. Whilst this invasive plant will generally make the headlines, there are a variety of other invasive plants/weeds that may have an impact on the buildings or properties you inspect, and in turn, what you report on too. To find out more, there are some helpful links to information, guidance and past webinars below:

TOP TIP FOR GARDENERS & LANDSCAPERS

Get familiar with current and common invasive plants, together with upcoming invasive plants which can impact your job and the guidance you offer to your clients/customers. As a gardener or landscaper, it is a good idea to make sure you recognise these common invasive plant/weed species, which have potentially the most impact (physical, environmental, economic). There is a useful page specifically for gardeners/landscapers within the link below to help with identification, along with action you can take if you come across any invasive plants. There is also a handy training course to develop your plant ID skills too:

TOP TIP FOR CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS

When it comes to building and development, our top tip is to know your legal requirements. UK laws impose responsibilities to manage ‘listed’ (Schedule 9) species on developments. If you are a construction or building development related professional, this means there are some considerations, common risks and challenges you must consider, whether you’re working on a large site or a small extension. To find out more, check out the dedicated page below for construction/development professionals, along with some waste control measures to consider:

Guidance for construction/development professionals

TOP TIP FOR ALL PROFESSIONALS - EDUCATION

Regardless of your profession, the most beneficial tip we can share is education - this is key to continually keeping your knowledge refreshed on the invasive plants which might impact your role, or the guidance/advice you give to your customers/clients.

We appreciate that for many professionals, dealing with invasive plants is not a day-to-day occurrence and you may come across it very infrequently. With recent statistics showing that 50% of plants in Britain are now non-native, how many of these non-native plants have the potential to become "invasive weeds" affecting our built environment?  You may be surprised at how often you ACTUALLY are coming across invasive plants/weeds without realising it!

For all professionals, our advice is to keep on top of your CPD (Continuous Professional Development) and become more familiar with these common invasive plants. To find out more, there are some handy links below

It may be over…but we still need to protect our environments & buildings

As we said right at the start of this article, 'invasive Species Week' may be over for this year…but it will be back in 2024.

This doesn’t mean we stop the fight against invasive plants and weeds and equally, it doesn’t stop us all learning to better protect our environments, gardens and buildings/homes. If anything, whether it's through ourselves or others, we hope that you have come away from this Invasive Species Week (homeowner or professional) with a little bit more knowledge, awareness and insight and that you share this insight with others to help stop the spread and create greater awareness of invasive plants/species.

We hope you agree and if you are eager to learn more, make sure you check out the PCA homeowner and professional pages for more guidance and advice.

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