Gardening: Expert advises on growing climbing plants
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There are often lots of plants, shrubs and trees in gardens, which makes identifying nasty ones extremely hard. To help identify invasive plants before purchasing a new home, surveyor experts at Stokemont.com have shared five of the most “common” garden plants which could devalue a home if not removed.
1. Japanese knotweed
Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed with bamboo-like shoots and shovel-shaped leaves. It can grow up to three metres tall in spring and summer, but up to 20 metres underground.
According to Stokemont, the weed can ruin pipework and drains as well as weaken building foundations and paving. Ultimately, this could lead to foundational collapse and poor flood defences.
Due to these damages, Japanese knotweed is listed as a defect to the property by RICS Homebuyer Reports, and could reduce the price of a property by up to 15 percent.
Bradley McKenzie of Stokemont said: “It is really important to clearly check and take immediate and thorough eradication actions before it gets too late.
“We would highly recommend you seek professional help when removing them as they re-establish easily from even the smallest remains.
“If you prefer doing it yourself, pesticide would be the most effective method to kill those zombie-like plants.”
Commonly seen across Europe, English Ivy can actually be dangerous to homes as it has the ability to climb up walls.
Stokemont said this invader can penetrate wall cracks, damage the mortar and bring dampness or leaks to the house.
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Bradley said: “Unlike Giant Hogweed, English Ivy could be removed with bare hands by peeling them carefully off the wall. It is also possible to kill them by cutting their roots off and letting them dry out.
“However, not all wall-climbing plants are harmful, such as Boston Ivy, so we recommend consulting a professional before mistakenly cutting some beautiful and safe plants from your wall.”
3. Giant Hogweed
This type of plant is similar to Japanese knotweed, and has the ability to spread extremely fast. This is often spotted in the months of June and July and can be spotted by its thick green stems with purple spots.
It also has white flowers shaped like a round umbrella located on the top of the plant.
The experts explained: “Widespread across the UK, especially around rivers and ponds, its sap is phototoxic and can cause severe skin burns or scars under sunlights.
“Though not causing direct harm to the property, buyers may still refuse to pay a higher price if present because of its high cost of removal – up to £15,000!”
4. Poplar, Willow and Oak Trees
While most trees cause no harm, extremely large trees including willow and oak can be dangerous if they are grown close to a property.
This is because their root systems can be fast growing, and can spread out to 40 metres, taking up to 1,000 litres of water and nutrients from the soil.
The surveying experts noted: “They could live around 50 years and are harder to remove when their roots grow thicker and bigger as time progresses. Their age, soil type, location, depth all matter when deciding whether your tree is a problem. If grown too close to your property, they could lead to further risks of cracks in foundations, subsidence and other structural defects, potentially costing you £5,000 to £25,000 to repair.”
5. Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam is from the Himalayas and was brought to the UK in 1839, according to the experts.
It can grow up to two to three metres and has pink flowers during the summer and autumn months.
Despite its beautiful colours, this invasive plant could spread 800 seeds metres away or even through rivers, potentially killing off other plants and reducing biodiversity by stealing all lights, nutrients or water.
Bradley added: “It does not have physical danger to humans but its significant ecological impact on nature and associated laws are not favoured by buyers. So it is recommended to keep this plant controlled or eradicated, and make sure it does not spread to your neighbours’ home as it can be illegal.”
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