As part of their Continued Professional Development, some adventurous REC staff up north have been out and about along Manchester’s watercourses this week, exploring not-so beautiful patches of infamous Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed.
Our Principal Ecologist, Dr Neil Madden (second from the right) took the team on a perilous tour to identify some of the UK’s most irritating weeds – first up being the attractive, but all-invasive Japanese Knotweed. Brought over by the Victorians to Britain in the 1800s due to its decorative aesthetics, it wasn’t realised at the time that this weed spreads like wildfire, and has a growth of 20mm a day.
Not as invasive, but incredibly hazardous to humans, the team went on to train about Giant Hogweed. Thriving in places like riverbanks or derelict land, the weed looks as harmless as any other, but when touched in the presence of sunlight, it burns the skin. Thankfully, thanks to Health and Safety, Neil didn’t make any of the team demonstrate this.
Lastly was the exotic sounding Himalayan Balsam – Britain’s tallest, annual plant that’s also incredibly invasive, halts other plants’ growth, and thus subjects slopes to stability complications.
All of these plants can cause environmental harm through either being incredibly destructive to structural foundations, endangering animals and other plants’ development, or both. Identifying these Invasive species and eradicating them is a much needed service in all sorts of industries, and fortunately, is all part of the day job at REC. So if you’re experiencing any difficulties at all with these types of weeds, then please don’t hesitate to call on our specially trained Ecologists and Land team to help.
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