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Invasive Weed Specialists
covering the North West and wider UK

At Knotweed Eradication we provide identification, surveys and effective treatments for a range of invasive weed species across the North West and wider UK.


Bamboo is an attractive, easy-to-grow plant that is great for providing a quick screen between properties within close proximity. has become a significant problem for British homeowners who may not realise that most bamboo species are incredibly invasive if left unchecked.


Bamboo has become increasingly popular over the last two decades due to how attractive many people find it, the fact that it is easy to grow and that it’s hardy; being tolerant of most soil types/situations. It has been particularly favoured in urban areas for its screening qualities, creating privacy in overlooked gardens and it was a regular feature on 90s/00s garden makeover shows that were regularly on our screens.


That said, bamboo can spread out of control if allowed to grow unchecked. There are several varieties that can be categorised into the ‘clumping’ and ‘running’ types, all of which have extensive underground root and rhizome systems.


Due to the impressive distances the roots can travel, 'running' bamboo has the potential to be extremely invasive and can take over a large area within a property if not managed properly, This can lead to substantial (often expensive) problems for homeowners, with issues over boundary disputes where the fast-growing plant has spread into a neighbouring property.


'Running' variety bamboo sends out long, lateral rhizomes up to 10m from the main plant, causing it to spread rapidly, with new shoots unexpectedly appearing in new locations.


Even clumping bamboos, which are preferred over running varieties, can become invasive if left unchecked for several years.


All bamboo should be planted in containers with appropriate root barriers designed to contain bamboo, to ensure they cannot spread – a great option for this is ‘CuTex’.


Controlling the spread of bamboo is usually achieved through a regular maintenance regime of cutting and application of appropriate, professional herbicide. In many cases the roots are required to be dug out and this is when things can become tricky, as the extensive root system has the ability to get everywhere!

As with Japanese Knotweed there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and a site visit is essential to assess the situation properly and discuss requirements, expectations and budget.

Bamboo in front garden of a property
Bamboo area after initial clearance
Bamboo area after year 1 treatment

Field Horsetail

Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail” or Equisetum Arvense) is a highly invasive, deep-rooted perennial weed that is known to penetrate tarmac driveways if left untreated. Because of how fast it spreads, Field Horsetail (“Mare’s Tail”) requires immediate prevention once identified to remove the risk of property damage and colonisation of the surrounding area. Below ground, Field Horsetail may have roots extending over 3 metres long but can be identified surface level through their distinctive stems which are highly fertile, releasing reproductive spores above ground level. These tend to appear throughout spring and will persist until frost sets in. They get their name from their appearance once they have grown, where the stems bunch together and resemble a horse’s tail.

Because Field Horsetail lodge themselves in small cracks and germinate quickly, they are a particular problem for hard landscaping and can cause extensive damage. This is also a problem for mortgage lenders who will consider this a serious risk to the value of the property.

It thrives in all kinds of environments including beds, borders, lawns, gravel paths and even underneath driveways and paving slabs. Due to the fact that the roots can grow more than 3 metres long, digging them out is rarely an option and full eradication can take years to treat with traditional methods.

Field Horsetail
Field Horsetail

Himalayan Balsam

Himalayan Balsam is now widely established in other parts of the British Isles becoming an invasive species weed. The aggressive seed dispersal, coupled with high nectar production which attracts pollinators, often allows the Himalayan Balsam to out-compete native plants.

Himalayan Balsam is often found on riverbanks, growing up to 2 metres in height.

Each plant lasts for one year and dies at the end of the growing season.

Himalayan Balsam:


  • has dark green, lance-shaped leaves with jagged edges

  • has reddish coloured stems

  • flowers from June to October

  • has large, brightly coloured flowers that are usually in variable shades from purple to pale pink

  • can produce around 2,500 seeds per plant each year

  • has explosive seed pods that can throw seeds over 6 metres away from the plant making it an extremely invasive plant

Himalayan Balsam
Himalayan Balsam

Giant Hogweed

A robust, bristly plant that has a coarse foliage and almost flat-topped flower heads with larger petals round the edges. These broad flower heads attract many insects, especially the orange or brownish Soldier Beetle. You should take great care when identifying giant hogweed. Contact with the plant, particularly the sap, can lead to severe blistering and scarring. Giant hogweed closely resembles native cow parsley or hogweed. It can take four years to reach its full height of 3-5 metres and flower.

Giant hogweed:

  • has a reddish-purple stem with fine spines that make it appear furry – like a stinging nettle

  • has hollow stems

  • has spotted leaf stalks

  • has leaves up to 1.5 metres wide

  • flowers in June and July

  • has flower heads that are usually 50 centimetres wide – each flower head can produce 50,000 seeds every year

  • has seeds that can stay in the soil for several years before they develop

Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed
Common Ragwort

Common Ragwort and Buddleia

The daisy-like, yellow flower heads of Common ragwort may be pretty enough to the casual observer, but they belie the poisonous nature of this plant. Renowned as a weed of paddocks and pastures, where it can be harmful to livestock, it is not usually such an issue in gardens or on waste ground. In fact, it is the food plant of the black-and-red Cinnabar moth: sometimes its black-and yellow-barred caterpillars cover the plant, totally stripping the leaves. Common Ragwort is a biennial, flowering in its second year from June to November. Common ragwort is a relatively tall-growing plant that has clusters of yellow, flattened flower heads, and leaves that look ‘feathery’ because they are very divided.


Buddleia is a popular garden plant that was introduced into the UK from China in the 1890s and has now become widely naturalised on waste ground, along railway cuttings and in urban areas. Its familiar purple flowers bloom from June to October and attract all kinds of butterflies and moths looking for nectar sources. Its winged seeds are dispersed by the wind and find it easy to colonise stony ground. Buddleia is a very familiar bush, with large, drooping spikes of densely clustered, small, purple (or sometimes white) flowers. It has long, narrow leaves and the flowers have a honey-like fragrance.

Common Ragwort and Buddleia

Take a look at some of the other horticultural services we specialise in at Helmrig

Landscaping in progress
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Knotweed Eradication
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Tree Services
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Worried about invasive weeds on your property? Contact Knotweed Eradication now to talk to our team, we provide services across the North West and wider UK.

01772 621013

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