An invasive species is one which has been introduced into a habitat and has a negative impact on its environment. For most invasive plants, this means they crowd out other native species and form dense patches across wide areas, altering the natural landscape until control measures are implemented.
Japanese knotweed doubles down by impacting natural areas and manmade infrastructure. Its root systems can crack driveways, concrete sidewalks and building foundations all the while proving to be very difficult to eradicate or control.
When mowed or weed whacked, knotweed only comes back stronger. Fragments that are scattered can re-root, furthering infestation. It is fast growing and has hollow stems that are similar in appearance to bamboo. Some plants can reach 15 feet in height and form an impenetrable wall.
“Knotweed is my favorite, least-favorite plant,” said stewardship team lead Shelby Bauer, who leads invasive species treatment work at Huron Pines. “It is very good at surviving, and some of the craziest stories I’ve heard are about knotweed growing right into a house. In its native habitat, knotweed is probably super cool but here it’s just fighting you.”
Knotweed was brought to the United States more than a century ago as an ornamental plant. Its yellow-white spike flowers bloom in late summer and fall, making this time of year the best opportunity to identify it and report infestations.
“Knotweed is a very tough plant to get rid of so it’s best to ... report it,” Bauer said. Report Japanese Knotweed patches to the SLI Grounds Committee, through the SLI Office, giving your contact number or email.