Concerns flooding in

Large areas of the UK continue to deal with the enormous clear up operation following the November 2012 floods, but it’s unlikely that many have considered the longer term implications of what may have been spread by the rising flood waters.
As river banks are eroded under the rush of water, the potential for cross contamination through fragments of invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed, is high. As if those already affected by recent flooding don’t have enough to worry about, there’s the possibility of another problem lurking along waterfronts, flood plains and flood damaged areas waiting to wreak havoc over the next decade or so.
Nic Seal of Environet told The Landscaper “All new outbreaks of knotweed result from fragments of viable rhizome that may be spread within soils being moved from site to site, by natural processes such as river bank erosion, or by animal movement or by fly-tipping. But flooding, in my view, accounts for a good deal of its spread. It explains the rampant infestation along waterways and the rapid colonisation of our river banks as rhizome/root fragments tumble downstream when the rivers are in flood. When rivers break their banks and flood surrounding land, fragments of the plant can be dispersed at some distance from their original source and can pose a problem when owners look to buy, sell or build on their land.”
And Clive Brooker who runs the Midlands regional office for Environet told us: “There are numerous sites of Japanese knotweed on flood plains that have arrived due to the major flooding we have in this area twice a year. The land on river banks that the council and fishing clubs etc own, has the potential to cause further problems down river and in other flood plains as the water runs off. In particular, one area in a village called Fladbury has a patch of knotweed that is on a bank about 50m from the river, but it arrived almost certainly from the flood water.”
Nic Seal concludes, “If you are unlucky enough for flooding to have brought this pest to your door, the key is dealing with it as soon as you find it. It is not an insurmountable problem but it does need managing properly. Acting swiftly can be the difference between spending hundreds rather than thousands of pounds. One thing is certain, it won’t go away on its own.”
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