Dangerous Plant Invading Greenwich

Japanese Knotweed is rampant, spreading at an alarming pace and killing everything in its path. Debra, my neighbor called, “We must do something about this before it takes over all of our yards.” She took action. On Wednesday, six adjacent neighbors met at the end of Debra’s driveway. Pat Sesto, Director of Greenwich Environmental Affairs, joined us. Pat led our walk, giving us an amazing, eye-opening lesson in all the invasive plants, including the dreaded Knotweed, along our roadside. She encouraged and helped us work out and commit ourselves to an organized plan – one that would remove invasive plants and allow native species to survive. She warned, that there is no quick fix. We needed to see this as a project for several years. The six of us walked back home knowing we are in on this for the long run and knowing small groups working together may be key to making Greenwich Knotweed free.

Once you know what Knotweed looks like, you will see it everywhere. It shoots up like red asparagus in the early Spring. The leaves, mid green in color are heart or shovel shaped. The stems form a zig-zag growth pattern with one stem shoot per node. White flowers bloom in late summer. It grows fast and can reach a height of 10 or 11 feet. It spreads horizontally via a network of huge underground rhizomes.  

Will Kies, Executive Director of the Greenwich Land Trust wrote in his June 2021 newsletter, “…not all things are rosy. The number of invasive plants that have engulfed our landscape is staggering(and scary!)”  

Susan Campbell, in her commentary about Knotweed for the Greenwich Time wrote, “… Fairly quickly you learn to recognize the early red stalks peeking up, and then you know you are doomed. Well not “doomed” per se. Knotweed will not kill you but it will crowd out your peonies and roses.”

For the most frightening article of all, read Christopher Middleton’s Newsweek Magazine article, Japanese Knotweed: The Invasive Plant that Eats the Value of Your Home. In the UK,”…mortgage lenders have got wind of what’s happening, not least because solicitors’ forms now require homeowners to declare Knotweed’s presence. Tick ‘yes’ box, and lenders will either refuse to grant the buyers a loan, or else impose strict chemical treatment requirements.”  

Greenwich. It’s time to take action!!!

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