Japanese knotweed ‘continuing to spread’ near Hull University

A Hull councillor says she is “very concerned” over the spread of the invasive Japanese knotweed near the University of Hull. The weed, which can grow through many materials, including concrete, has become a nightmare for Hull residents after it was spotted sprouting up around their houses.

Residents have said they are even worried roads leading to the University of Hull, where the knotweed has been spotted along the playing fields boundary, will soon collapse if more is not done.

Councillor Joyce Korczak Fields, who represents the University ward, said she has contacted the Environment Agency to say the spraying programme was not working, but had not received any response.

She said: “I took it upon myself to twice a month go up and down the private tenfoot checking if the Japanese knotweed is spreading through. It has spread on to the tenfoot side along the first ten yards of the boundary fencing, from the back gate to a garden. The tenfoot side of the boundary fencing is not sprayed.

“It is very concerning that, despite the University’s programme of spraying in line with what I understand is recommended by the Environmental Agency, it would appear the Japanese knotweed is continuing to spread.”

The plant, which can grow at a rate of 4in a day, has been blamed for slashing house prices because of the devastating impact it can have. The University of Hull says it has a management plan in place to tackle the knotweed, which sees it sprayed three times a year.

But Norman Adams, who lives in Inglemire Lane, north Hull, has told the Mail the weed had become a “complete nightmare” and has spread rapidly since he discovered it 18 months ago.

Cllr Fields said the knotweed seemed to be spreading in tandem with the construction of a new car park. She said: “Since the temporary car park had been excavated and constructed on the university playing field, Mr Adams pointed out that the Japanese knotweed appears to be spreading.

“It has been breaking up the public footpath, on the grass verge and sprouting up rapidly in the front and side gardens of his next door neighbour’s property.”

Chris Paget, director of estates at the University of Hull, said: “The University of Hull has a management plan in place to tackle knotweed, working with residents and the local authority where appropriate.

“The management programme is based on Environment Agency recommendations to spray three times a year – we have already sprayed twice this year and will do so again in September and October. However, as knotweed is extremely invasive, management of the plant can take several years to eradicate it completely.”

What the experts say

Dave Cook, of Hull specialist weed experts The Cook Group, says people who discover Japanese knotweed should seek professional advice and follow these guidelines:

  • Deal with Japanese knotweed on your property straight away. The longer you leave it, the more it will spread.
  • Don’t just cut the plant down and try to cover it up, or put it in the local authority compost collection. This would be breaking the law and could help it spread.
  • Call a professional expert.

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