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Non native invasive species

Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed is a fast-growing invasive plant. It mainly grows next to water, in damp meadows or on derelict land. It grows exclusively by seeds, which can be planted deliberately or carried by wind or water. It can cause harm to humans and animals and although not native to the UK, it is now widespread.

Do not touch Giant hogweed as the sap can cause painful burns and make your skin sensitive to strong sunlight. If you are affected by it, wash the area with soapy water and contact your doctor for advice.

 

How to identify Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed is easy to identify when fully grown by height, size of leaves and size of flowers. However, when not fully grown it can be easily confused with common hogweed and cow parsley. When identifying Giant hogweed, look out for:

  • white flower blooms
  • thick purple-reddish stem with many stiff white hairs
  • a height of up to 5m (15') tall when fully grown.

View more information on Icon for pdf identifying Giant hogweed [6.95MB]

 

What you should know

You should avoid contact with the plant as the sap can cause irritation to the skin.

It is the landowner's responsibility to control these plants. You must not allow it to spread to other people's land or property. However, you do not have to remove it from your own land.

If you see Giant hogweed on private land such as a neighbouring property, a construction site or agricultural fields you should speak to the land owner in the first instance. To find out who owns a piece of land, visit HM Land Registry. We do not intervene in private cases.

You must not remove or dispose of Giant hogweed as it could cause the plant to spread, which is an offence.

You must not dispose of Giant hogweed in your green bin (garden waste) or take it to the tip (household recycling centre) as this is an offence, it must be disposed of as controlled waste.

If you find Giant hogweed on your own land you can view more information on preventing invasive species from spreading on the GOV.UK‚Äč website.
 

Giant hogweed on public land

If you have found Giant hogweed on public land, you must report it us.

Report weeds

Reports within council land will be investigated, and if found to be Japanese knotweed or Giant hogweed, it will be added to areas marked for treatment.

We aim to control invasive non-native species on our land, to support biodiversity and protect public health and property. Specifically, this targets Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed as these are regarded as posing the greatest risk.

We make every effort to contain the spread of Giant hogweed on public land and ensure the area is safe as a matter of priority, once reported.

 

Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is an invasive species of plant which spreads rapidly and overwhelms other plants. It is the fastest growing in the UK.

It can grow almost anywhere and causes serious problems, including loss of native plant species, structural damage (it can grow through asphalt and some other surfaces), reduction in land values and difficulty in obtaining mortgages.

 

Why is it a problem?

As Japanese knotweed is not native to Europe, the pests and diseases that control it in Japan are not present in the UK.

 

How to identify Japanese Knotweed

  • green shovel shaped leaves
  • stem is bamboo-like in appearance
  • produces white flowers around September or October.

View more information on Icon for pdf identifying Japanese Knotweed [4.5MB].

 

What you should know

It is the landowner's responsibility to control these plants. You must not allow it to spread to other people's land or property. However, you do not have to remove it from your own land.

If you see Japanese knotweed on private land such as a neighbouring property, a construction site, agricultural fields, speak to the land owner in the first instance. To find out who owns a piece of land, visit HM Land Registry.

You must not remove or dispose of Japanese knotweed as it could cause the plant to spread, which is an offence.

You must not dispose of Japanese knotweed in your green bin (garden waste) or take it to the tip (household recycling centre) as this is an offence - it must be disposed of as controlled waste.

If you find Japanese knotweed on your own land you can view information on how to prevent Japanese Knotweed from spreading on the GOV.UK website.

 

Japanese knotweed on public land

If you have found Japanese knotweed on public land, you must report it to us.

Report weeds

We make every effort to contain the spread of Japanese knotweed on public land and ensure the area is safe as a matter of priority, once reported.

 

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam is a non-native weed that spreads crowding out other native plants, it can grow very tall. 

The balsam plants come into flower from June through to August and that is the time to pull them up before they set seed. Balsam can be found beside streams, wetlands and in woodland areas, it grows in damp conditions.  

Pulling up a small amount in the same area over a few years will eradicate it and allow native flowers to grow back. While out and about walking and exploring why not give nature a helping hand?  

The pulling up of Himalayan Balsam is carried out as an environmentally positive thing to do when out and about on a walk through the woods or beside the river in public open space. It is not advocated that individuals go off the beaten track or into private land but stay near to footpaths and within public open space. It is a quick activity done as and when people want to over a short time period and is not envisaged that someone will spend hours and hours on this.

 

How to identify Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam is easy to identify by the shape of the leaves, stem and pink flowers. When identifying Balsam, look out for: 

  • pink flower blooms that are sweetly scented
  • a height up to 3m tall when fully grown
  • stem is hollow, sappy, fleshy and brittle
  • leaves are dark green with reddish mid rib
  • explosive seed heads

View more information on Icon for pdf identifying Himalayan Balsam [4.97MB].

If you pull up balsam the best practice is to crush the root nodules so that the plant cannot re-root. Please pile it carefully to the side of the paths, away from mown areas and it will quickly rot down. Focusing on the same specific areas that are important to you and wildlife over a period of few years is the best way to combat this invasive weed.  

Take a look at the Friends of Astley Park and Lower Burgh Meadows Conservation Group websites should you want to volunteer to combat the balsam with a group. 

You can also take a look at the Yarrow Valley Himalayan Balsam Bash  Facebook group.
 

 

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