Trade association’s gardening guide for Invasive Species Week


Trade Association PR

A national trade body is marking Invasive Species Week with a round-up of some of the key actions that gardeners can take to help curb non-native weeds.

Daniel Docking, technical manager at the Property Care Association’s Invasive Weed Control Group, has highlighted five top tips to help stem their spread.

The advice has been produced for Invasive Species Week, which takes place from the 15 – 22 May, a joint initiative, led by the GB non-native species secretariat (NNSS) alongside a variety of organisations to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and their impacts.

Daniel said: “Invasive plants have significant impact to the environment and the economy, but the public can have a part to play in tackling the issue.

“Management is key, and householders, gardeners and other horticulturists can make a valuable contribution towards this.”

The tips from the PCA are;

  1. Plant wisely. For example, a ‘running’ bamboo species should only be planted well away from a neighbouring property and, preferably, in raised beds with a robust root barrier or large containers on a hard standing to stop it going where it’s not wanted.
  2. Get expert help for Japanese knotweed. Japanese knotweed can devalue land and property and lead to the refusal of mortgages on properties affected by it. It is considered a nuisance plant because it grows so rapidly and can cause disruption to and around buildings. Despite the issues Japanese knotweed can cause, it can be controlled and managed, in that it can be identified and treated with minimal impact, but its effective management is a job for the experts and the earlier that work takes place, the better.
  3. Take care with soil. When you are digging-over flower beds containing invasive plants like Variegated Yellow Archangel or Few-flowered Leek, don’t put the soil in your green bin or compost heap until you have carefully removed the propagules (the parts of plants which give rise to new plants) otherwise you could be unwittingly spreading a regulated species.
  4. Be water aware. Invasive weeds issues are not just limited to the land. Significant problems can be caused by the spread of aquatic plants in the wild. Once they take hold in rivers and canals, they can be very difficult to control and remove. If you have a pond you may have species like Curly Waterweed or New Zealand Pygmyweed as these are often bought as fast-growing ‘oxygenators.’
  5. Be aware of Rhododendron Ponticum. This densely branched evergreen shrub with waxy, deep dark green oval leaves offers stunning purple funnel shaped flowers in spring. However, this specific species can be extremely invasive within certain environments, or if allowed to escape into woodlands. Once out in the wild, Rhododendron Ponticum can grow very quickly and can outcompete other plants for resources such as water, nutrients and sunlight.

More details about the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group can be found at:

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