Every gardening enthusiast would probably agree with me about weeds. Little weeds are garden “villains”, as they are so persistent and pervasive. We can drain our energy plucking the weeds in the garden on a weekend, only to find vengeful sprouts in less than a week.
But regular weed has nothing on the Japanese knotweed. The title garden “villain” is not sufficient – perhaps we can consider them super villains because they can cause much, much more damage, say, to the foundation of your house:
At the heart of the Great British Knotweed Panic is the fear that knotweed will make your house fall down. The U.K. has made knotweed disclosure mandatory on all deeds of sale. British banks will not issue a mortgage to a property with knotweed on its grounds, or to one with knotweed growing nearby, unless a management plan is in place. In February, HSBC clarified its mortgage policy in a letter to a parliamentary committee, which was committed to addressing knotweed even in the midst of the Brexit chaos. Any knotweed growing within seven meters of a property is “unacceptable security,” said the country’s largest bank. A management plan can be a long and costly ordeal, with a bedroom-size clump of knotweed requiring thousands of dollars of treatment over several years. Homeowners with negligent neighbors or few resources have little recourse at all. In 2016, not far from the Rowley Regis course, a retired butcher named William Jones hanged himself in his home. At an inquest, his wife said he had been troubled by, among other things, the financial implications of knotweed on a piece of land he’d bought. “Bill was a very strong character,” she later told the Telegraph. “But this was something he couldn’t cope with.”
Robert Naczi, a curator of North American botany at the New York Botanical Garden, explains that the plant itself may not be evil per se, but it’s still very troublesome. “It’s doing what a plant does. But Japanese knotweed is a very serious invasive. A very, very problematic species. One of the worst invasive species in Northeastern North America.”
(Image Credit: Japanese Knotweed Solutions, Ltd.)