The UK plays host to an array of plants that have come to our shores as visitors and decided to stay. The weeds most commonly discussed are Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed, however, they are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to non-native invasive plants in Britain. There are many plants other than the dreaded knotweed being called ‘weeds’ due to their ability to spread quickly into areas where they are not desired. A prime example of a species growing where it is not wanted is rhododendron ponticum inhabiting the region of Argyll in the west of Scotland.
Formerly a desirable plant, rhododendron was planted on many country estates for its beautiful flowers and the fact it provides great cover for game birds. Very quickly, it began to spread, dominating smaller, more delicate native species. Now, moves are afoot to control its spread and help the native plants thrive once more. Invasive Weeds Agency have been part of rhododendron control at Loch Awe as part of an EU funded project to help clear the loch’s feeder streams in order to promote brown trout spawning in the area.
A lesser known weed, albeit a highly invasive one, is horsetail (Equisetum arvense). Horsetail is a primitive weed that grows in many different areas. If you’ve ever had it in your garden (it’s probably still there) then you will know just how easily it spreads. The plant is segmented, which means that it can easily break apart and the segments can regenerate. It can be very difficult to kill with herbicide due to the structure of the stem and the lack of leaf surface reduces the ability to intake herbicide to lethal levels. Horsetail damages hard surfaces such as paving and it easily penetrates tarmac. Removing horsetail from the ground can be particularly difficult due to the depth of its rhizome (stem beneath the ground). Horsetail rhizomes have been recorded at 2 metres below the surface.
The best treatment option for any weed control is dependent on a large number of factors. Invasive Weeds Agency can discuss treatment measures on a site specific basis, which means that our clients will receive the best value for money.
If you need assistance with rhododendron or horsetail, or require assistance with any other weed, call our team now on 0845 676 9252 or contact us here.
IWA. Getting to the root of the problem.