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Japanese Knotweed

Legal Implications for Golf Clubs

Monday 26th of June 2017 08:00

Over the past few years awareness of Japanese Knotweed has increased in the public domain. The seemingly innocuous plant shown below can cause devastation if left unchecked.

Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) is an invasive species of plant and is believed to have been introduced to the UK in the 19th Century for ornamental purposes. Due to a lack of natural predators it has become widespread. Knotweed can grow extremely quickly (in some cases up to a metre a month) engulfing other plants, restricting visibility, and increasing the risk of flooding. The underground stems known as Rhizomes can go down to a depth of 3-7 metres. The plant is so strong that it can rupture tarmac, concrete and damage buildings. Golf courses are sometimes prime area for knotweed to thrive and grow. The constant movement of golfers around the playing areas on a golf course has the potential to increase the risk of knotweed spreading from one part of the course to another in a relatively short space of time. Greenkeepers should be warned that cutting, spraying, mowing or digging out knotweed is likely to cause it to spread further rather than help deal with the issue.

There are several pieces of legislation which govern the subject matter of Japanese Knotweed which golf clubs should be aware of.

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