Help slow the destructive invasion of knotweed

Japanese knotweed, which looks like bamboo with white flowers and heart-shaped leaves, has the ability to penetrate asphalt, concrete and cement, with potential negative impacts to roads, sidewalks and building foundations, due to its 20-metre root systems

The Thompson-Nicola Invasive Plant Management Committee wants the public to keep an eye out for an invasive plant that has sprung up in patches throughout the area.

The goal is to prevent the alien species from spreading out of control and wreaking havoc on infrastructure.

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Japanese knotweed, which looks like bamboo with white flowers and heart-shaped leaves, has the ability to penetrate asphalt, concrete and cement, with potential negative impacts to roads, sidewalks and building foundations, due to its 20-metre root systems.

By comparison, a tomato plant has about a half-metre root system.

The Japanese knotweed has the ability to reproduce through that root system if not dealt with properly via chemical treatment, with only a half-gram worth of root left behind in soil all that is required to grow a new plant.

Native to eastern Asia and introduced to North America in the 1800s, Japanese knotweed first popped up in B.C. in the Lower Mainland, where it has been prolific, as well as up the coast.

It is currently only in random spots throughout the Thompson-Nicola region, invasive plant management co-ordinator Coleen Hougen said, which is why the regional district hopes to educate the public and prevent further infestation.

Hougen said legislation does not enforce invasive plants to the extent that is necessary, resulting in nurseries continuing to sell such plants and gardeners continuing to plant them in their yards.

“A lot of people have planted them as a horticultural plant,” Hougen said. “It could be in their backyard.”

Hougen is asking residents to choose plants that are native to this area.

The Invasive Species Council of BC is also working with the horticulture industry to prevent invasive plants from being sold.

Once spotted, Hougen is asking people report identified infestations of Japanese knotweed by calling 250-851-1699 or emailing invasvieplants@tnrd.ca.

Whereas some plants can be eradicated and spreading prevented hand-pulling or snipping of their buds, Hougen noted Japanese knotweed must be treated with glyphosate, the herbicide found in Roundup.

In addition, eradicated Japanese knotweed should not be disposed of in a backyard or via composting.

Instead, it needs to be properly buried deep in a landfill, something for which residents should phone ahead to ensure.

“It is really important for people to give us a call before they manage it on their own,” Hougen said.

The regional district is also working with the Ministry of Transpiration to manage spotted knapweed, in addition to combatting hoary alyssum and scotch thistle.

For more information on Japanese knotweed and other invasive species, go online to tnipmc.com.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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