Japanese Knotweed about

Japanese Knotwood at the junction of the Kilraughts/Gracehill Road. INBM30-14S
Japanese Knotwood at the junction of the Kilraughts/Gracehill Road. INBM30-14S

A number of signs placed on grass verges throughout Ballymoney and Moyle, including the Armoy Road Racing circuit, have indicated the presence of the invasive plant, Japanese Knotweed.

The ‘Do Not Cut’ signs and the huge plant growth may be causing some viewing issues for motorists at junctions but the move from the Roads Service is necessary in order to prevent the spread of a weed.

The quick spreading weed can block footpaths and damage concrete, tarmac, flood defences and the stability of river banks.

It is believed the invasive plant is growing along the Armoy Road Racing circuit however it is not expected to cause any problems to spectators and motorcyclists.

Injurious weeds are native species, which cause problems for farming.

They are harmful to livestock and must not be allowed to spread to agricultural land.

Japanese Knotweed begins to grow in early spring and can grow in any type of soil, no matter how poor.

It can grow as much as 20 centimetres per day, and can reach a height of 1.5 metres by May and 3 metres by June.

It does not produce viable seeds in the UK, but instead spreads through rhizome (underground root-like stem) fragments and cut stems.

Japanese knotweed:

- produces fleshy red tinged shoots when it first breaks through the ground

- has large, heart or spade-shaped green leaves

- has leaves arranged in a zig-zag pattern along the stem

- has a hollow stem

- can form dense clumps that can be several metres deep

- produces clusters of cream flowers towards the end of July

- dies back between September and November, leaving brown stems

If you have invasive plants or injurious weeds on your premises you have a responsibility to prevent them spreading into the wild or causing a nuisance.