Removal and Treatment of Invasive non-native plant species
We can manage and eradicate invasive plant species.
As well as Japanese Knotweed, we can manage and eradicate all plant species as set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Section 14 Schedule 9. This includes other invasive plants. Under the act, it is illegal to plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild any plant listed in schedule 9.
There are a large number of non-native and also native plants which are known to be invasive. The introduction of some plants from abroad have proved highly invasive in the UK, threatening natural habitats and native species. By containing these plants and disposing of unwanted plants and weeds correctly, we can help reduce the spread of invasive non-native species.
Invasive plant species are more than just an annoyance to homeowners. These weeds can also cause structural damage to your home and massively affect its value, and harm natural habits and wildlife.
We offer solutions for most problem species. If you have an issue with other invasive species, get in touch today.
What are non-native invasive plants?
Non-native plants are those that occur outside their natural location. They can be introduced accidentally or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found. Some species can have serious negative consequences for their new environment.
Species that spread and outcompete native species can threaten ecosystems and habitats. Only where this occurs are the plants termed invasive non-native species. These are considered to be invasive either due to lack of natural control mechanisms (such as herbivores); rapid rate of spread (by seed or vegetatively) or suppression of other species (such as competition for resources).
Non-native invasive plants can:
- Change ecosystems and habitats and have non-biotic effects, such as changing the pH or the chemical composition of the soil
- Outcompete native plants either by habitat change or by spreading so rapidly as to crowd out slower growing species, threatening the survival of other species
Invasive plants covered by legislation
There are a number of different regulations at both national and European level in place to help protect our environment from invasive non-native plants.
In the UK it is an offence to plant or cause to grow in the wild plants listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species lists 36 plants. This legislation still applies in the UK. These plants should not be planted or caused to grow in the wild but in addition, are banned from sale.
Identifying invasive plants
It is important that you can identify invasive plants on your premises. This will allow us to manage and deal with them in the most appropriate way.
Identifying invasive plants on a site early lets developers assess and cost options for destroying, disposing of and managing them. Please get in touch if you need help identifying a potentially invasive plant species on your land.
Other species of invasive plants in the UK include:
- Giant hogweed
- Himalayan balsam
- Rhododendron ponticum
- New Zealand pigmyweed (also known as Australian swamp stonecrop)
Well known examples such as
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
Illegal to plant or to allow to grow in the UK
Himalayan balsam is a relative of the busy Lizzie but reaches well over 2 metres in height, and is a major weed problem, especially on riverbanks and waste land, but can also be found in gardens. It grows rapidly and spreads quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes.
It has large, brightly coloured flowers that are usually in variable shades from purple to pale pink. With each plant producing over 800 seeds every year, this means huge potential growth. The key to control is to kill all plants before seeding.
Pathways of Spread – Himalayan Balsam grows, flowers and then produces seed pods which burst and throw 700-3,000 seeds per plant around a 7m radius. The seed is viable for 1-2 years with most actually germinating the following year. The other distribution method is via waterways, in which the seed can remain viable for two years.
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
Illegal to plant or allow to grow in the UK
Giant Hogweed is a perennial plant, it was first introduced to Britain in 1893 as an ornamental plant. It spread from gardens and now covers many areas of wasteland and riverbanks in the British Isles. By forming dense stands, it can displace native plants and reduce wildlife interests. During winter when the plant has died back it leaves the area bare of vegetation and increasing the risk of erosion and re-colonisation from seeds washed downstream. Giant hogweed looks similar to an overgrown cow parsley, able to grow 10 feet high.
Growth is from seed which can be viable for up to 5 years.
Health Hazard – The plant’s sap contains toxic chemicals which react with light when in contact with human skin. Skin contact with sap from the plant can cause 2nd-degree burns, blistering and scarring. Eye contact with the sap can cause permanent blindness. This means that mowing or weeding the plant yourself without proper equipment is difficult.
Pathways of Spread – Spread is primarily by the distribution of seeds by wind, with further spread by flowing water and by-passing animals and humans, movement of soils containing seed or plants, will introduce the plant to entirely new areas.
What if I have invasive non-native plants in my garden or on my land?
If you already have these species in your garden or on your land, we can advise and control them and, for those 36 plants listed by EU, we can organise to take all possible steps to remove them.
Elcot Environmental can treat both small and large areas. We specialise in the identification, control and disposal of invasive non-native plants that can harm the environment.
How should I dispose of these invasive weeds?
There is always a risk when disposing of invasive weeds that you may inadvertently spread them further. Elcot Environmental can reduce that risk by digging up and disposing of correctly. These weeds are regarded as ‘controlled waste’ under the Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care) Regulations. Elcot Environmental can arrange for the weeds to be taken off-site and disposed of in registered landfill sites.
Please note that the movement of invasive non-native plants is only permitted as part of responsible disposal. These weeds cannot be put in your normal green waste or household waste. Never dump invasive plants or any garden plant in the wild or at the side of the road.