Japanese Knotweed is a fast growing, invasive plant which spreads rapidly forming large stands that can reach over seven feet in height, easily shading out and taking over from the wildflowers and plants that occur naturally in our countryside. This leads to a loss of suitable habitat for wildlife. Japanese knotweed is also an issue on river and stream banks where it causes soil erosion. This problem plant can even cause structural damage to roads and property.
Japanese Knotweed doesn’t occur naturally in the UK and is thought to have been bought over as an ornamental plant in the 19th Century by the Victorians. It has large bamboo-like green stems that are often speckled red, lime green heart-shaped leaves and clusters of cream flowers in the summer.
Liz Cox, Upstream Thinking Ecologist for Cornwall Wildlife Trust says,
“I am delighted that South West Water is funding Cornwall Wildlife Trust to control Japanese Knotweed in the Drift catchment over the next 5 years. The Trust is in a great position to tackle Knotweed in the catchment, as we already work closely with many farmers and landowners locally through our Upstream Thinking work which is also funded by South West Water. Controlling Japanese Knotweed fits well with Upstream Thinking’s aims to enhance water quality and wildlife habitats in the area.”
Liz Cox continues,
“Japanese Knotweed is a real threat to some of the fantastic wildlife habitats in the Drift area, where it is growing in areas of woodland, wetland and heathland. As well as treating Japanese Knotweed in these valuable habitats we are also tackling stands in farmyards, gardens and on stream edges to prevent the knotweed spreading downstream and ultimately to Drift reservoir itself.”