Keep an eye on those nice-looking weeds spouting in your backyard.
If they grow fast, and look kind of nice – looks can be deceiving – because they could be Japanese knotweed.
The invasive plant can crumble roads, sewers and building foundations with its fast-growing roots and it has the attention of both Metro Vancouver and Maple Ridge, with the latter tuning up one of its bylaws to allow it to be tackled head on.
Council gave third reading last week to changing the Untidy and Unsightly Premises Bylaw so that Japanese knotweed is added to the list of weeds that can be ordered removed from properties.
If an order is given, homeowners will either have to remove the plant themselves or the district will it do for them and charge the bill on to their property taxes.
Removal though requires professional contractors.
The bamboo-like plant is strong enough to bore through concrete and so virulent, it can regrow from as little as 0.2 grams of root remains.
“It’s impossible to dig them up,” Jennifer Grenz of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver said last year.
“Their roots can reach [five metres] deep and 20 metres across.”
Knotweed has arrived in Maple Ridge and crews last year and this year have been trying to remove it along Lougheed Highway.
Coun. Al Hogarth though said blackberry bushes were just as bad and was concerned about pollution from the herbicide used to kill the knotweed.
Last year, an infestation of Japanese knotweed was discovered splitting concrete in the footings of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and infesting a section of the Highway 1 expansion project in Burnaby.
Since 2007, the U.K. government spent the equivalent of $110 million to eradicate four hectares of Japanese knotweed from the Olympic Park in London, prior to the construction of Olympic venues, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.