Gardening for Good for October 2021
Nixing Japanese Knotweed.
The increasing interest and emphasis on using native plants in our local landscapes takes on added significance, and urgency, as we come to realize how persistent – and destructive – some non-native substitutes can be.
This invasive plant is seriously intent on persisting: it is a prolific seed producer, has roots that can easily stretch over 20 feet and are capable of impacting building foundations, surfacing through asphalt and lifting pavement. Like most of the worst invasives, it regenerates from a fingernail-sized sliver of stem or root. Knotweed in Connecticut is prohibited from importation, movement, sale, purchase, transplanting, cultivation and distribution, according to the state's General Statutes.
You may think you've never seen Japanese Knotweed, but the chances are good that you have: a shrub-sized plant with heart-shaped leaves, tufts of creamy white flowers in late summer, and especially it's telltale jointed stems that look like bamboo – hence its common name Japanese Bamboo. It grows virtually everywhere – I've seen it emerging from a cement island surrounded by an I-95 exit ramp.
The greatest threat, at this point, is the lack of public awareness. So, what's being done? We'll talk with Suzanne Thompson who has an answer: a simple technique that only requires persistence. Nix the Knotweed – a method originated by organic gardener Petie Reed, is also a volunteer information campaign. You can find it on social media and a YouTube channel.