Invasive’s Week – Stop the Spread!
The 2nd of February saw the start of Invasive’s Week, raising awareness of invasive species and the magnitude of threat that such small creatures pose on our environment.
The term ‘invasive’ refers to a plant or animal that is not native to a specific location and has a tendency to spread and cause great damage to the environment, human economy, and in some cases, our health. The ability these invasive species have to adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade puts our environment and ecology at great risk, so it is no wonder that something needs to be done to raise awareness of their spread.
Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, kicked off the week in the BuzzFeed Community by outlining ’12 tiny things that cause huge problems’. From Killer Shrimp’s to Asian Hornet’s and Harlequin Ladybird’s, we come to learn how such tiny and often harmless-looking creatures can be hazardous to the environment. Water-dwelling invasive species are known to ‘hitch hike’, so water users may well be unknowingly spreading the dwellers from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing, therefore encouraging their growth.
With invasive non-native species being recognised as the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide, it is important that we can distinguish the threats. Japanese Knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the most invasive species due to its continuous growth, of up to 20 centimetres a day, and extremely difficult nature to remove. It is incredibly detrimental to buildings and land, blocking footpaths, damaging concrete, tarmac and the stability of river banks – hence, a huge threat in the landscaping industry!
Neil Huck, Ground Control’s National Training Manager and BALI Technical Director, speaks out about the importance of managing and treating the invasive plant:
“Japanese Knotweed is an extremely aggressive alienating species. From an ecological point of view, it destroys the habitats of native species putting bioregions at great risk, which is a great threat to our environment. Economically, it causes £1.2 billion a year in structural damage, disturbing roads and buildings; even affecting house values by 40% and sometimes stopping the sale of a house. It is most important that the problem is addressed and treated as soon as it is recognised, as the resulting problems are astounding.”
As a member of the stakeholder group advising Defra on invasive species, Neil outlines the first stage of training as identification, to initiate control programmes with the use of chemical herbicides and physical excavation and removal. Ground Control operatives are well trained in treating locations infested by the overpowering species, and offer a comprehensive grounds maintenance service which includes invasives treatment. By raising awareness and caring for our environment we can help stop the spread of these invasive species and keep our environment in check. Check out this great new app to help identify and track down non-native plant species and help tackle the problem!