‘Invasive’ plants to avoid growing in your garden

Japanese knotweed: Phil Spencer discusses plant

With over 50,000 infestations of harmful plants including the fast growing Japanese knotweed spreading across the country, gardening experts have issued warnings about a variety of plants to look out for this spring. Power Sheds said these nine plants can result in fines of up to £34,000.

1. Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a well-known “invasive” plant, which can grow 10cm a day during the summer months.

The experts said: “It has bamboo-like stems and clusters of small white flowers which can cause significant damage to your property and infrastructure.

“It is difficult to eradicate once established, making it even more important to avoid in your garden. If you’ve spotted Japanese knotweed growing in your garden, it’s important to get professionals’ help to remove it, as even the smallest piece of stem left in the ground can regrow.

“If you’re selling a property, make sure to get a professional survey done by an RICS surveyor. This will help protect you from any legal action from buyers if knotweed is later discovered on the property.”

The shed experts said the fine for this weed can go up to £34,000, but this number could even be higher, depending on the case.

This means it is essential to be on the lookout for this plant to avoid it growing into your garden.

2. Spear thistle

Spear thistle is a weed in the UK which is currently “illegal” to allow it to grow in your garden.

It can be recognised by its spiky leaves and purple flowers, known for spreading extremely fast.

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Gardeners should be on the lookout for this weed as it can cause harm to other crops in the garden.

If discovered, the experts said the fine for this weed could cost up to £2,500.

3. Common ragwort

The pros continued: “The common ragwort is easily recognisable with its bright yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Although it is one of the most common weeds, this toxic plant is harmful to livestock.”

The fine for growing this plant could be up to £5,000, according to Power Sheds, so it is important to stay away from growing it.

4. Broad-leaved dock

Broad-leaved sock spreads via seeds which are dispersed by wind, water and animals and has the potential to spread large distances.

The experts said gardeners can recognise this plant by its broad leaves with spikes of small yellow flowers. However, the fine for this plant if it is ground in your garden could be up to £2,500.

5. Curled dock

Curled dock is a very common plant found in gardens, alongside road verges and hedgerows.

It can be recognised by its curly leaves and spikes of small yellow flowers, spreading quickly across land due to its flexibility.

It can cause harm to livestock too if it ends up growing near.

6. Rhododendron ponticum

The experts continued: “Growing to considerable heights, the rhododendron ponticum is another invasive plant on the list, it will even compete with other plants for a little bit of sunlight.

“The plant has evergreen leaves and large clusters of pink or purple flowers, and is poisonous to vegetation and wildlife.

“It is difficult to eradicate once established, making it even more important to avoid growing it, otherwise you could face a fine of £5,000.”

Jack Sutcliffe, co-founder of Power Sheds, added: “Once you can identify the most common criminal plants, it’s important to prevent them from spreading as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is by spraying them with chemicals, digging them out or burning them.”

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