Invasive plants are those that quickly take over your backyard, dominating your carefully selected and nurtured treasures and generally destroying the local biodiversity of plants and wildlife.
There are numerous and some very well-known horticultural offenders, and knowing how each plant spreads and whether it conquers its new ground by dispersing seed on the wind or through an extensive root system can prove a real game changer. If not enabling you to eradicate the plant completely, getting savvy will at least make controlling it much easier.
These are the top 10 invasive plants to look out for in your flower beds and borders –and the actions to take.
10 invasive plants worth knowing about
Growing conditions play a huge role in turning perfectly well behaved ornamental plants into backyard thugs. Get to know which plant types are prevalent in your area by consulting your local Cooperative Extension Service or a local nursery.
1. Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
A true yard heavy, although originally introduced as an ornamental plant, Japanese knotweed runs riot smothering everything in its path. Spreading and claiming new land through its network of aggressive creeping roots, it has a habit of working its way along rivers, watercourses and waste ground. Roots are strong and persistent enough to break through asphalt, underground pipes and drains, so don’t let it anywhere near your newly constructed patio or front porch.
Growing up to 4in (10cm) a day, the stems are clearly noticeable in summer thanks to their attractive white plumes.
Take control by digging out every shoot, however small, by hand or digger. Notoriously difficult to control you may need to call in a specialist and it can take up to four years to conquer a large patch.