Government considers action against knotweed

Garden and greenhouse growers may be aware of the problems associated with Japanese knotweed – or Fallopia japonica as it is officially known.

The plant was introduced to the UK by the Victorians and is renowned for its aggressive nature, according to the Guardian.

It spreads through huge rhizomes that can stretch for literally miles and takes over gardens with haste, the article stated.

However, the government is considering introducing another alien species – the Aphalara itadori – to help deal with the issue, which cost around £1.56 billion to manage in 2003, according to Defra.

The jumping plant louse feeds on the knotweeds sap, making it easier to deal with the problem species.

A consultation is underway as to whether the insect should be released, as some fear it could have side effects on the UKs ecosystem.

However, CABI experts have stated it is unlikely the bug will start munching on other species of plant and should not pose a risk to gardens and greenhouses.

The consultation will continue until October 2009 and, if approved, the deliberate introduction would be the first of its kind in the UK and Europe.