Control methods and disposal of plant waste

There are four basic methods for controlling invasive non-native plant species: <!--[if !supportLists]-->

  1. Mechanical – cultivation, hoeing, pulling, cutting, raking, dredging, or other methods to uproot or cut weeds.
  2. Chemical – Specific herbicides.
  3. Biological/Natural – Use of pests and diseases of the target weed to weaken it and prevent if from becoming a problem.
  4. Environmental – Altering the environment to make it less suitable for weed growth e.g. increasing or decreasing water velocity.  


Important: The use of herbicides in or near to rivers, canals, lakes and drainage channels in England and Wales requires prior agreement from the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland.

Biosecurity must also be taken in to account when

Best practice

There are a number of sources of information

'Managing invasive non-native plants in or near fresh water' - Environment Agency leaflet (April 2010) with information on methods of control for Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Australian swamp stonecrop, Parrot’s feather, Floating pennywort and Creeping water primrose.

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) has produced a series of invasive species information sheets including useful information on control.  You can find them here:

Disposal of plant waste

Correct disposal of plant material is vital to avoid the risk of spreading the problem further. Always contact the Environment Agency for England and Wales (Tel: 08708 506 506) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) (Tel: 01786 457700) for advice on disposal because there are regulations which cover the composting, burning and burial of plant materials on-site and the transfer and disposal of material including ash to licensed or permitted landfill sites.

Most garden waste should be either composted or burned within the same garden. If this is not possible, the material should be disposed of by the local council, who should be informed if waste contains knotweed. Large volumes of waste requiring burial on-site may require a licence under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2002.

The 'Be Plant Wise' campaign is currently raising awareness of non-native aquatic plants and advises how to dispose of garden plant waste responsibly.

For Japanese Knotweed
Do not compost. Burning is recommended for small amounts of material in individual gardens in accordance with Environment Agency advice – ‘The knotweed code of practice – Managing Japanese Knotweed on development sites’.

Important
Failure to ensure safe, legal disposal or obtain an appropriate licence or exemption could result in prosecution.

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