Invasive & Non-Native Plant Species

Invasive & Non-Native Plant Species
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Most landlords expect tenants to take care of any garden that comes with the property in question – and this is a reasonable enough request! However, there are some plants that even the most conscientious of tenants will struggle to control. Plants that are not native to the UK and invasive species, like Japanese knotweed, pose a risk for many reasons. It is your responsibility as a landlord to do whatever you can to minimise the risk that harmful flora and fauna can pose.

In all honesty, everyone, not just landlords, has a civic duty to prevent harmful weeds and invasive non-native plants from spreading. The Government states we must all do our upmost to control and dispose of plants that have the potential to harm the environment and livestock, this includes preventing invasive, non-native plants on your land from spreading into the wild and causing a nuisance. You are also obliged to prevent harmful weeds on your land from spreading onto a neighbour’s property. 

Please note that being able to identify offending plants is really important so that you know how they can be controlled – a fine of up to £5,000 or two years’ imprisonment can result if contaminated soil or plant material from any waste you transfer spreads into the wild. Weeds listed on the Government website as posing a danger to animals or having the potential to cause issues for agricultural production if left to spread uncontrolled include common ragwort, spear thistle, creeping or field thistle, broad-leaved dock and curled dock. It is vital that you know how to identify the aforementioned harmful weeds, so be sure to visit this Government resource

It is not an offence to have these weeds growing on your land, but you must remember that you do have responsibilities. You must prevent invasive species from spreading to agricultural land, especially grazing areas/land used to produce hay, silage and any other forage of sorts. You must select the most relevant ‘control’ method, and then seek permission before you use certain methods of control. You must never plant/replant an invasive species in the wild. The invasive and non-native plants you need to control are as follows; Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, rhododendron ponticum and New Zealand pigmy weed (which is actually banned from sale.)

 If you have any of these non-native plants on your land, you do not need to physically remove or control them. However, please remember you could be prosecuted or served with a community protection notice for causing a nuisance if you allow Japanese knotweed to grow onto a neighbouring property. For Japanese knotweed control measures, find out more from The Environment Agency who will assist with all plant waste disposal enquiries

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