Thursday 26 December 2013

Bringing up babies

Raising rheas

Perfectly formed
Harry and Cathi Poole appear in my sidebar as contributors to this blog. Sadly Harry is no longer with us but his fine photography lives on and so does his contribution. I still remember how he chased me from pillar to post to get my blog right. He even had the temerity to disagree with my horticultural opinions! I hadn’t taken a photograph for forty years and he was particularly scathing over my pictorial efforts but he taught me a lot. He really cared. 

It was Harry who rescued the sparrow hawk trapped in my garage and bravely held the defiant disdainful creature for the camera whilst Brenda and I snapped away. We were very lucky with that one. Cathi still bursts out laughing when she looks from her bedroom and sees me holding a camera!

The animals were a big part of Harry and Cathi’s life and it was a huge occasion when Harry hatched two eggs. Like all of their other animals the proud rhea parents had been rescued from an uncaring owner and had previously lived in a brown parched tiny field. Not only were the new babies born to a large green generous pasture they were actually raised in Harry and Cathi’s large garden. As they grew older I jested with Harry as he hosed copious  white slime off his lawn. Cathi works in town and the burdens of parenthood fell to Harry.
Male rheas normally incubate the eggs. On this occasion most of the raising fell to Harry. He was very busy that summer. Initially he would stroll around with the chicks in his breast pocket. He looked like an elevated kangaroo. It was a change from seeing him with a hen on his  head! The tiny birds were soon the size of the chickens. It was at least six months before they returned to  join their natural parents in the field.

Old blue-eyes

Cheeky chappie
I think I am a pelican

Contemplating my tail

Great hat mum
A little hung-over

We are an item
It's twins

Letting life pass by
It's my little sister

Place in the sun
Proud father

Give me  a cuddle


I'm in charge now

Stop sprawling

Rhea window, my previous rhea posts

Needless to say these are Harry and Cathi’ pictures

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Friends remembered

Christmas post, final delivery

Peter’s rose. A long-flowering, deliciously scented scented ‘climber’ about five foot high.
I have forgotten the real names of many of my plants. I do remember who gave me them, where and when. Peter’s rose came from Peter Williams who lives down the road. Tony’s rose was given to me by rosarian and former colleague Tony Thompson, known to the students as AJT. 

Tony’s rose. This shrub rose thrives in all of my four gardens! It is a free standing shrub with a very long season of flowering.
The interesting thing about both these roses is that they are on their own roots. Any suckers are welcome! Most of my roses are rooted cuttings and I see that the superiority of  plants from cuttings rather than budding for many, but not all roses, is starting to be recognised. Propagation by budding (grafting) is arguably more for the benefit of the producer rather than for the consumer!

Tony’s rose ten days before Christmas

Peter’s rose also ten days ago

Monday 23 December 2013

My gravity defying bougainvillea

Christmas post.

Will our bougainvillea festoon our conservatory roof this Christmas?

Last year I posted about the bougainvillea in our conservatory. Since then the conservatory has a acquired a new well insulated white sloping roof replacing the old rigid plastic.
Anchored to the vertical wall our bougainvillea is now reaching out into space. Hugging the slope of the roof, it’s heavy top has no means of support and the unsupported growth is now more than a meter long! 

A little precarious

It’s quite amazing how a stem thickens and strengthens to support itself in response to the stimulus of environmental stresses. The other thing worth a mention is that it is growing away from the window towards the middle of the room. It is growing towards light. There is more light directly in front of the large window than  in its own dark corner. 

Grows towards middle
It is destined to drop down! At the moment it looks absolutely magnificent. The big question is when thirteen of us sit down in the conservatory for our Christmas dinner will we be beneath it. Two days to go!

Saturday 21 December 2013

Poppy takes a shower

Christmas post

Mummy, can I have my shower?

Should I bother?
Can you make it a little warmer?
A little shower gel, please?
Just a little faster

Faces of Poppy

Whilst taking his shower he likes to study the science of water droplet formation.
(When I have my own bath I think about soil water holding capacity).


Twice a week Poppy stands by the tap, looks longingly at Brenda and asks for a shower. Not verbally - yet

Thursday 19 December 2013

Friends next door

Christmas post

On Cathi’s bird feeder

Long tailed tit
Go back to your tree

Cathi's bird feeder

Links to my sparrow hawk posts 

Harry Poole pictures

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Pest destroyers

Christmas post

Po’s hog

Mr. Happy

Roger’s hog

Mr Sleepy

Hedgehogs eat slugs, snails, insects and worms. They are not only insectivorous they also are omnivorous and will eat dog food, cheese, biscuits, currants and sultanas. Many but not all will hibernate in Winter. Do not give them milk and salty food. Replace meaty food every day. Ensure they can find a source of water.

I wonder if they eat Christmas pudd? More likely a little finely chopped  turkey. I suppose they might be asleep? Please someone tell me!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Mistletoe. So good, nature evolved it five times

Jonathan Briggs

There are hundreds of different mistletoes spread throughout every climate and continent other than Antarctica. They do not all look the same. What they all have in common is that they are all hemiparasites. Separately evolved in at least five distinct families of plants, they share  an evergreen habit, sticky berries, photosynthesizing green leaves that manufacture sugars and haustoria that penetrate woody hosts to anchor themselves and extract nutrients. In the UK our native species is Viscum album, my subject today.

Mistletoe is a parasite and one might assume that this is a bad thing. Not so. As a keystone species it brings rich ecological diversity to a wide range of habitats.

Mistletoe life cycle

In the UK, mistletoe’s significant vectors are the mistlethrush and the blackcap. Very few other birds tackle the viscous berries. Both birds spread the sticky seed which adheres to tree bark, germinates and produces haustoria which penetrate the host’s internal tissues. Haustoria are its only source of nutrients, mistletoe has no roots.

Co-evolution with  birds

Neither the mistlethrush nor the blackcap requires mistletoe for survival but there would be very little mistletoe without these birds! The mistlethrushes favourite foods are mistletoe, holly berries and juicy yew arils. They vigorously defend fruiting trees which they claim as their own! Berries are natures’s great invention to distribute seeds by enrolling animals and birds. For many berried seeds - although not mistletoe - the process of digestion within a bird’s gut is integral to their eventual successful germination. 
It would appear that because of the diverse feeding habits of the mistlethrush its excretion is a rather ‘hit or miss’ process - literarily so - and seed might find itself on the wrong tree, or on no tree at all. The sticky viscin that coats mistletoe seed enhances the seed’s chances if it does reach its target. The bird’s latin name, Turdus viscivorus says it all.

The Australian mistletoe bird does a much better job. Not only does the seed pass through its gut in as little as five minutes, it scrapes the sticky seed off its bottom with an inelegant shuffle. This links to a picture of this pretty bird.

The blackcap is a game changer. Since the nineteen eighties they have started to overwinter in England. A distinct genetic sub-race crosses from Germany. Spain’s loss has been our gain. The blackcap now resides here when  the juicy white mistletoe berries ripen.The bird precisely ‘sows’ the mistletoe seed as it scrapes its beak clean. Mistletoes are not  host specific, as is often stated, although not all tree species are able to act as a host. Blackcaps placing the seed are usually scraping the right tree! The gardener can pretend to be a bird and smear the seed on the bark of a suitable species such as apple, hawthorn and ash. Do not plant, just smear!

I love his black cap, his beak serves as the neb.
Mistletoe distribution

The recent ancestral home of Viscum album is the South West Midlands down into Somerset. The apple orchards in Somerset and Worcestershire are traditional havens. Sadly these orchards are in decline. The good news is that blackcaps are dispersing the mistletoe and moving the centre of distributional gravity to Cambridgeshire and Essex and generally south east. Mistletoe no longer is in retreat and private gardens and suburban habitats are starting to take on the mantle.

Good news, hot off the press, my friend Peter Williams has just returned from Cambridge where the mistletoe is profuse. He has sighted it on trees on the motorway embankments of South Yorkshire and growing strongly on poplars as far north as Goole. 

Mistletoe as a keystone species.

Mistletoe may be the coup-de-grace to an ancient tree weighed down by this invader, shaded by mistletoe leaves and depleted of nutrients. However to the general ecology of a site, mistletoe is a complete boon. We old age pensioners need tender loving care and potions to preserve us from our geriatric aches and pains. It is the same with trees. Ivy - which is not a parasite, but a semi-epiphytic scrambling plant - will also hasten the death of an old tree for similar reasons. The important biological principle is that mistletoe and ivy just like my own agues, are all signs, but not the fundamental cause, of eventual demise. It’s called ‘old age’.

Mistletoe makes it’s own sugars within its green leaves. It is incumbent on the leaves of a normal plant to constantly donate some of this nutrition back to the stems and the roots. In addition, deciduous trees at leaf-fall translocate break-down products back into the plant. Evergreen plants too withdraw resources before their leaves fall. No such responsibility falls on mistletoe and it is probably impossible for the haustoria to carry out this function. The consequence is that mistletoe leaves make very good fodder and support nectar rich flowers. Even better, when nutrient rich mistletoe leaves do fall to the ground, the deep litter provides the most magnificent resource for insects, invertebrates, small animals and birds.
Although the dense crowded ‘witches brooms’ of mistletoe provides nesting, cover and nutrition for numerous species of birds, it is the leaf litter under the mistletoe that makes the greatest ecological impact.
In an experiment reported in the New Scientist an area of land had it’s mistletoe pruned away and wild life was observed over a three year period. The ecological quality of the site was dramatically diminished and in particular animals and insect eating birds in the undercover below the trees were considerably depleted. 
One significant factor is that within an area of wooded land there is considerable variation in the distribution and density of parasitic mistletoe. In effect there are ‘hotspots’ of distinct biological activity. Separate micro-sites where different combinations of plants and animals prosper are key to ecological abundance.

Mistletoe’s mystery, magic and myths

No, not the whimsical Christmas stuff but the biological story. Everything I thought I knew about mistletoe is wrong.
  • It is a harmful parasite. No its not, its an ecological desirable parasite.
  • The seed needs to pass through the gut of a bird to germinate. Wrong.
  • It is host specific. Seed needs to be transferred from apple to apple, poplar to poplar or ashes to ashes. No it does not.
  • Seed needs to be pushed under the bark. No, it needs to be daubed.
  • British mistletoe is in decline. It is increasing its geographical distribution

Jonathan’s wonderful blog

Jonathan Briggs

In my research for this post I came across Jonathan Briggs’ fascinating Mistletoe Blog, which I have brazenly plundered. In the link I give he has some very interesting things to say about one of our heroes. Jonathan has given me permission to copy some of his lovely pictures.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Can you use ‘Roundup’ in Winter in the UK?

Yes, you can use glyphosate in Winter….

Photographed today the strip of rhizomatous grass was sprayed 1st November

- even though it sometimes says on the pack that you can’t - and its uses are more limited than in Summer.

Readers of my regular glyphosate posts know that I use this herbicide all the year round. Apologies to them, they might want to skip this one! Many gardeners ask this question and usually get a confusing answer - so here is mine!

It is important to understand that glyphosate kills the roots via the leaves. Active green leaves absorbs the chemical and translocates it to the roots. Glyphosate is renowned for killing perennial weed. Many perennial weeds such as convolvulus and ground elder go completely dormant and lose their leaves in Winter and at that time glyphosate is utterly useless

Some perennial weed such as rhizomatous grasses like couch often hold onto green leaves well into December. No doubt in warmer climates they hold them even longer. Such growth is receptive to glyphosate which is effective - but slow.

Controlling weeds that are still green
The use of glyphosate I find so important in Winter is against weeds that come from seed. Often referred to by the uninformed as ‘annual weeds’ they are not exclusively so; they might be annuals, biennials or perennials, they are merely seedling weeds - or if your maintenance is poor they might be rather larger! 
Weeds are very opportunistic and some will germinate at any time of the year and when conditions are suitable they grow! Weeds like cleavers germinate in November and December. That wretched ubiquitous hairy bitter cress will germinate at any time. Don’t ask me about controlling it in March when its seeds are dispersing all over the garden! Spray in Winter before any problems arise.

The fact that many garden plants have died down means that glyphosate is particularly useful as it will not harm these dormant plants. Take the opportunity to spray weeds growing amongst perennials such as hostas when your garden perennials are leafless.

Glyphosate in Winter is very slow
Even in Summer it takes in the region of two to three weeks for glyphosate to kill. In January and February glyphosate is effective but its speed is positively glacial. Six weeks if you are lucky, eight or more if you are not. If you are the sort of gardener who wishes to immediately transform a weedy patch to a pristine weed-free garden, glyphosate is not for you!
If you are the sort of gardener who regards weed control as frequent on-going garden management and the only person who even notices any weed is yourself then a quick winter spray-round is ideal. Once sprayed, a weed is ‘as good as dead’ it stops growing and you can file it away as ‘job done’. It will not be there in March to explode into vigorous growth! Weed control becomes easy and pleasurable if you keep on top! Spraying around in Winter is very speedy and easy when most of your garden plants are dormant. My own garden is an acre and is planted intensively and intricately with many thousands of plants. I can completely knapsack-spray the whole garden in less than two hours.

Glyphosate of course will not kill any further succession of newly germinated weed. Expect to spray again in another six weeks time. 

Efficient absorption of glyphosate
The literature says that glyphosate should remain on the weeds at least six hours before it is washed away by rain. In Summer I find this advice very conservative against small ‘weeds from seed’ and if conditions are warm and humid, a lethal dose will be absorbed in an hour or so. These conditions do not occur in Winter. Plan your Winter spraying when rain is not expected.
Dews in Winter can be very heavy. If your spray dislodges water that falls to the ground, according to the literature, this will waste some of your spray. It might be best to wait until the heaviest of dew has gone.

Does air temperature effect efficiency of uptake and subsequent effectiveness?
The technical literature suggests that to achieve optimum effect, growers should not spray when the temperature is below 5ºC and not expected to rise to 10ºC the same day. The significant factor would seem to be absorption rather than effectiveness when absorbed. Although I do not personally concern myself about how warm it is when I spray - other than my own comfort - it might be wise to heed this advice.

Sulphate of ammonia to enhance speed of absorption
A closely guarded secret is that sulphate of ammonia enhances a plants ability to absorb glyphosate and makes it ‘go further’. My own glyphosate comes so cheap that I never bother to add this common fertilizer to my spray. I have known it to be recommended at perhaps 15 gram per litre of diluted spray to increase glyphosate’s speed of absorption. I have not done this for many years and it might not even be legal! (I have recently seen ammonium enhancers recommended for a specific commercial glyphosate brand)

I see that 360gm/litre commercial glyphosate product now retails on Amazon at about £60 per 5 litre (A gallon in old money). I buy elsewhere in 20 litre containers - it was Rodeo this time, previously Hoedown, but they are all the same glyphosate (although not the same spreader). With VAT last time it cost me £100 for 20litre, so compared to the garden centre it is very cheap. I do not  in Winter consciously depart from my usual dilution rate of 1in 50 for ‘general’ weeds. Read my posts on buying and dilution rates.

I  carefully sprayed the grass growing at the base of this bog iris 12th November

Photographed today 7th December the grass is not quite yet dead and the near dormant iris is unharmed.

Weed nicely yellowing in my garden today

Monday 2 December 2013

Control of Japanese knotweed in the private garden

There is no doubt that Fallopia japonica - it used to be called polygonum - is a very serious weed. Its elimination can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds on a single building development. 

It is not difficult to control in the private garden, but you must not take your eye off the ball and it will take time. If you have the misfortune to possess a strong growing clump it will take at least three years to clear it using herbicides.
Without herbicides it will be a complete nightmare, but with much persistence and a great deal of effort you can still achieve complete control. 

I do advise that you eliminate this plant. Although it is not unattractive and you might feel it not to be a problem, beware! You might find yourself with some very expensive provisions if it gets into your neighbour’s garden and, should you or your neighbour want to build an extension and planners become involved, well need I say more? It’s best to quietly get rid of it before it ever becomes an issue. Some people are now frightened that it can even affect the value of their own property.

It will normally take at least three years to get rid of a strong clump of Japanese knotweed by spraying with glyphosate. It’s worth repeating what I have previously said about a principle that applies when eliminating difficult perennial weed - the actual work involved is quite small, it’s just that it is spread over a long period of time! 

In my own case, in Worsbrough cemetery garden, I eliminated a vigorous quarter acre stand of luxuriant ten foot high knotweed, but it took ten years. It took me two years to ‘break the back’ of the problem and I then lost focus. The area just became part of my less intensive spraying routine.

I propose to describe my own methods and the very exciting recent success of Peter Williams in a garden in Derbyshire.

About Japanese knotweed

Native to Japan, it grows on Mount Fuji above 2400 ft and is an efficient first coloniser of infertile volcanic slopes. It make me wonder how such a vigorous plant obtains its nitrogen. The Japanese call it ‘itadori’ which means ‘healer of the sick’, and I recently read how its shoots can be used to make a very fine gin! So much for hysterical claims from the Ministry that you should wear protective clothing, a mask and generally look like a spaceman and terrify the local population just to burn the tops

It is however a pretty tough cookie. On volcanic slopes it grows close to fuming fumeroles. No wonder it can take over a garden or claim large tracts of riverbank and wet ground in the wild. It has a fantastic ability to smother and kill competing vegetation. This plant really is allelopathic and exudes plant killing toxins.

The problem of Japanese knotweed has become worse where Fallopia japonica has  hybridized with other vigorous knotweeds such as the Russian vine, Fallopia baldschuanica. This is rather similar to the problem I wrote about recently with the hybrid Rhododendron x super-ponticum.

Sources as reputable as the Environment Agency will tell you that the weed can spread as much as a meter a month and grow more than 10cm per day. It is surprising how quickly plants grow under optimum conditions. Just google how far common creeping thistle will spread in a season! Yes, Japanese knotweed will spread very quickly in a wet month in August when there is no competition and yes, it will shoot up to ten foot high in very few weeks in June and July. Plants commonly grow rapidly in short vigorous bursts but then stop. Yes, it is a very real problem and has the ability to speedily spread, but I do find the propaganda hugely overstated.

There is a rumour that it is illegal to plant Japanese knotweed in a garden. I wouldn’t recommend it, and it is definitely illegal to introduce it into the wild. It originally became a problem because it was introduced as a garden plant. A few years ago I visited a botanic garden (not one in God’s county) and admired their magnificent Polygonum japonica (as it was then called). The plant was confined by a lake on one side and a broad band of regularly mown turf on the other. Absolutely superb.

My experience in Worsbrough cemetery.
I explained in an earlier post how nearly twenty years ago, with the help of the naughty boys on probation who were  doing community service, I eliminated more than acre of six foot high brambles in the wooded cemetery. Within the overgrown jungle was an irregular clearing of a quarter of an acre of very well established Japanese knotweed. The colony was bounded by a sturdy cemetery stone wall, trees and brambles. It was virtually impenetrable and grew as strongly as on any riverbank in Wales. I make one visit per month and in the first few years I had other ‘fish to fry’ and completely neglected the knotweed. It remained confined, I did nothing, but it did not spread much further.

Eventually I got round to the fascinating horticultural challenge to kill it. I started on my project at the ideal time in late June when it had achieved maximum height and the leaves were still soft and receptive to my glyphosate. The literature does not confirm my opinion and says that translocation is more effective later in the season. I agree this is true of some translocated herbicides but not glyphosate. 

Japanese knotweed has a very limited season, not emerging until after severe Spring frosts and making no further growth after Autumn frost arrives. I would be able to spray about three times a year.
As Is my wont when faced with difficult weeds on the first occasion of spraying I used my glyphosate at the maximum permitted concentration (and a little bit more) and gave them a drink in the morning and for good measure another later in the day. It was not possible on that day to reach all the weeds with my knapsack sprayer, even with its extended lance. I was aided in my efforts that the clump was irregular in shape  and I could get in at the edges. I sprayed three times that season. The three sprays took in total, about six man-hours. I did the same in the following year. By the third  year strong new growth had ceased and ‘bonsaied’ new growth was only about a foot high. As far as I was concerned, ‘job done’ and the site only received my normal maintenance spray. The knotweed did take another eight years to be completely eliminated but I am certain had I continued with my former intensity it would have been completely killed by the end of the third year.

It is rather ironic that other than Keith Burkinshaw the cemetery sexton, hardly a single Birdwell resident knew that they had a Japanese knotweed problem in their locality. They were certainly unaware that I had solved the problem for them. Nobody noticed!  St. Mary’s Church community pay me generous travel expenses for my monthly visit and pay for my glyphosate but the marginal cost to them of eliminating the weed was zero.

That will be £50,000 sir!

In contrast I received an anxious phone call from Bolton Percy church warden that someone had spotted knotweed in the cemetery and there was a bit of a local panic.The cemetery has never seen Japanese knotweed. The plants that had been spotted were completely harmless Polygonum persicaria that I planted.

Peter Williams’ exciting success in a private garden…. somewhere 

Application by injection is not a new principle. It worked very well for Peter this Autumn. The problem was that there were a few very healthy clumps of knotweed in someone’s garden. Some metres away there was to be a new building extension. There was not a cat’s chances in hell of the knotweed harming strong new building foundations. Unfortunately the plants reputation to penetrate badly laid or crumbling tarmac and its acknowledged ability to penetrate cracks made it wise to eliminate it.
This is what he did.

He drilled the base of each tough stem and injected a 10% glyphosate solution. This was at the beginning of September. The quantity of the weed was about twice that in the picture and it took him two hours. I asked him if the method would translate to larger plantations and he said no, it was too labour intensive, he would spray in such circumstances.

One month later the top of the knotweed was dead and he cut it back to the ground. None of the surrounding ornamental plants suffered any damage what-so-ever. For practical purposes the knotweed was gone until next June! 
Now the question is will it come back? Almost certainly yes, and the knotweed must be allowed to grow a new top before it is re-treated, perhaps the then much weakened and smaller knotweed will be sprayed.
I have no experience of Peter’s method. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Japanese knotweed has been killed outright. I doubt it, but I will keep you informed.

Does digging out roots help?
No digging was done at Worsbrough and I do not imagine Peter intends to dig either. The professional literature suggests that a combination of root removal and spraying is best. This might well be true but it is very important that you spray the undamaged intact weed first.

Further technical and legal information provided by Peter Williams and quoted verbatim 

Hi Roger

Looks an interesting article and I assume you have some pictures of the foliage to show just what a beautiful plant it is. You might refer at slightly greater length to the timing of spraying or injection - The sources I looked up all stressed the need to spray late in the growing cycle when nutrients were being translocated back to the roots for overwinter storage. I used just a few ml of glyphosate per shoot and as you say nothing in the area was affected even the grass growing very near the clumps.
Its distribution is also possibly worth a mention - whereas it is very widespread throughout Britain (as shown by the national 10x10km grid square data) it is only locally very common and usually in past industrial sites ( as shown by reduced presence in 2x2 km squares).
Interestingly Edward Salisbury in the classic work on weeds in 1964 (2nd Ed) hardly mentions this plant but he does quote  the RHS journal ‘The Garden’ for 1897 thus "A plant of sterling merit, now becoming quite common...and is undoubtedly one of the finest herbaceous plants in cultivation". He goes on to comment that that reputations can be lost and it can be seen on waste ground in London and once established "it is a labour to eliminate".
It might also be worth mentioning the Cornwall County Council website that is helpful without being over dramatic and does I think, cover all the legal issues.
Best wishes

Japanese knotweed (fallopia)

Not just a weed but a biohazard. Introduced from Japan mid C19.  In
Japan it does not cause problems because of its natural pests  and
predators.  These were not introduced with the plant into the UK.
Noted in wild in London 1900, Exeter 1908 and Suffolk 1924. Cornwall
1930. By 1960’s Land's End to John o Groats and beyond to the isles (isle
of Lewis?).  Although it flowers, spread is vegetative - roots
extend 2 m down and 6m laterally per year. (p263).  Spreads in urban
areas/churchyards  but not in ancient woodlands or grassland or
agricultural land.  Japanese knotweed is listed on Schedule 9, Part II
of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 making it an offence under
Section 14 (2) (a) of the Act to "plant or otherwise cause Japanese
knotweed to grow in the wild". Both the Police and local authorities
have enforcement functions under the Act. Penalties for a Section 14
offence have been modified by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act
2000 for England and Wales. A magistrates’ court can impose a maximum
fine of £5000 or a maximum prison sentence of six months, or both. A
Crown Court can impose an unlimited fine or a maximum prison sentence
of two years, or both.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 above and below ground
parts were classified as 'controlled waste' and have to be disposed of
in licensed landfill sites only.   The fear and legislation relating
to this species led to the establishment of a specialist industry
aimed at its destruction. The industry stressed the dangers of the
plant and pointed out the difficulties not only of killing the weed
but also its subsequent disposal. Public authorities and worried
private citizens employed the contractors and business boomed.  This
developing 'pest removal' industry received another boost in 2009 when
the Finance Bill allowed companies tax relief of 150% on the cost of
removing knotweed from contaminated land. The price for clearing the
weed rose to above £50 per square metre and the annual cost in GB in
2010 was in excess of £150 million. Clearing the Olympic site cost
£70 million.

Thank you Peter You have given much food for thought.

Update November 2014
In response to recent hysterical Government legislation I am writing a further post about Japanese knotweed next Spring. In the meantime a few further thoughts...

My mention that the hybrid between Japanese knotweed and the Russian vine might be a problem is probably nonsense. I have reported elsewhere that the best known hybrid is a complete wimp!

There has not been a single sign of Peter’s injected Japanese knotweed returning and there has been zero damage to surrounding plants. I deliberately ‘miss spoke’ about his glyphosate concentration. Although he only injected a very few ml of the chemical it was actually almost neat 360g/l commercial product!

My  concentration of spray for my own spraying against Japanese knotweed in Worsbrough was 1 in 50,  360g/l concentrate/water. I mixed this by adding 200ml of 360g/l glyphosate concentrate to ten litre of water in my knapsack sprayer.

A number of interesting topics have arisen in my comments section. Just press the comment button!

August 2017
I have written a new post
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