Posts

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found: A team of Swansea University scientists have discovered a rare Japanese knotweed hybrid in south Wales.

Although this could mean further proliferation of knotweed, the Swansea scientists involved believe the discovery could help them develop new ways of managing the spread of this destructive and notoriously difficult to combat plant.

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

The hybrid knotweed, known as Conolly’s knotweed was discovered during a study led by Sophie Hocking, a PhD student funded through the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) scheme at Swansea University.  Sophie’s study formed part of intensive research which Swansea University College of Science researchers have conducted over eight years, including the world’s largest Japanese knotweed field trial.  The research has been undertaken in close partnership with Complete Weed Control and Advanced Invasives, a company that has grown from the research.

Sophie said: “We discovered evidence of Conolly’s knotweed during the study, which took place near Cardiff.  Conolly’s knotweed is a hybrid of Japanese knotweed and the common garden plant, Russian Vine. While Conolly’s knotweed is rare in the UK, records of it are increasing across continental Europe.”

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

Sophie said she and the team were surprised to find evidence of the Japanese knotweed hybrid: “Conolly’s knotweed is a bit of a paradox because although it is rare in the wild, it’s the most frequently produced seed found on Japanese knotweed plants in the UK. We didn’t expect to find Japanese knotweed in the seed bank, because plants in the UK come from a single female clone and cannot reproduce successfully without male plants, unless hybridisation with another member of the knotweed family takes place. We actually didn’t expect to find any type of viable invasive knotweed seeds, because it’s extremely unlikely for any to survive wet UK winters.

The fact we did find evidence of Conolly’s knotweed means that hybridisation took place – this could be an important aspect of the Japanese knotweed invasion that we are overlooking.

Japanese knotweed is capable of producing copious amounts of seed when hybridisation occurs. If future climatic conditions become favourable for these seeds to germinate successfully, our Japanese knotweed problem might get worse. A seed bank full of hybrid knotweed could mean a second wave of invasion following treatment of the initial problem.

Finding Conolly’s knotweed in the soil seedbank means that invasive knotweeds may now find an additional means of dispersal.

We are currently looking at the ecology of our Japanese knotweed site to determine whether native plants will regrow after the knotweed has been tackled or whether we need to add new species to restore the habitat. This will help inform a complete best practice for managing invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, allowing us to move beyond a reactionary approach that has characterised invasive plant management and restoration to date.”

Rare Japanese knotweed hybrid found

The full article is published in Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland News.

For more information, please contact Complete Weed Control’s national office on 01325 324 277 or visit www.completeweedcontrol.co.uk

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.

Inquiry Into Japanese Knotweed Impact

Inquiry Into Japanese Knotweed Impact: The Science and Technology Committee are holding an oral evidence session in early 2019, specifically to explore the science behind the effects of Japanese Knotweed on the built environment. To inform that session, written submissions were invited and the Amenity Forum has made a response.

The Amenity Forum welcomed the inquiry. Whilst there has been research and studies on the topic, it is felt more is needed if we are to fully understand the impact and implications. There has been a number of studies observing specific sites where structural damage has been caused but it is felt that more scientific studies are very much required. The Forum also feels that more economic analysis is needed and indeed is vital to establish the financial implications now and in the future. This would assist Government greatly in establishing both its strategy and future plans to combat the issue. It is undoubtedly the case that the presence of Japanese knotweed rhizome within a construction, if left unchecked, can produce significant damage especially within masonry and hard surfaces.Inquiry Into Japanese Knotweed Impact

The Forum also states that what has already emerged, in looking at the range of controls, is the importance of chemical products including those with the active ingredient, glyphosate. Whatever approach has been trialled, chemical treatment remains extremely important and provides the most effective approach in any integrated plan for knotweed management. They go on to say knotweed management is a long term plan and cannot be seen as a quick fix. Clearly it can be controlled by treatments but the point at which such a treatment plan is complete remains uncertain. There would appear to be a need for more research and examination of the rhizome that remains following professional treatment. Establishing the facts relating to the viability of that material when disturbed is key to establishing protocols for sites that have been subjected to a treatment programme.

Professor John Moverley, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, very much welcomed the focus on this topic and emphasised the need to use professionally trained operatives in managing the problem. He said ‘’What is vital is that knotweed control needs to be undertaken properly and by professionally qualified operators and organisations who fully subscribe to the standards and best practice laid down. The Amenity Forum is currently developing an overarching assurance standard for the sector and we would urge all employing any operators to ensure that they can deliver to such a standard and, in so doing, fully support the work and objectives of the Amenity Forum. Bad practice and unqualified operators can make the situation far worse and sadly there is evidence of such practices existing. The need for assured practice and the need for users such as local authorities to adopt these is vital’’

The Amenity Forum is holding a series of half day Updating Events across the UK over the coming months. These are free to attend and will update those attending on current issues and concerns. There will be time for questions and essential networking. For more information on the location and timings of these events, please contact admin@amenityforum.net. Whilst free to attend, it is important that you register in advance.

For the latest industry news visit turfmatters.co.uk/news

Get all of the big headlines, pictures, opinions and videos on stories that matter to you.

Follow us on Twitter for fun, fresh and engaging content.

You can also find us on Facebook for more of your must-see news, features, videos and pictures from Turf Matters.