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Should you burn Japanese knotweed?

Should you burn Japanese knotweed?

a match brushing a matchbox

When searching google for DIY methods of removing Japanese knotweed, you may have stumbled across a few articles saying that burning Japanese knotweed should be considered, but don’t believe everything you read online.  

Burning Japanese knotweed as a method of eradication is not recommended.  

It is important to remember that the plant, being one of the most aggressive invasive species out there, is extremely robust and therefore challenging to control. Burning it may seem like a quick solution, but it will most likely lead to negative outcomes. 

You are not safe from regrowth: 

The plant may look burned on the surface, but the real danger, when wanting to avoid Japanese knotweed regrowth, is to not fully get rid of what’s below the surface. Whilst watching Japanese knotweed burn may be very satisfying – setting fire to the above ground growth will unfortunately have little to no effect on the rhizome below the surface and knotweed crowns may also survive burning. Even rhizome that is dug up from the soil and burned has been known to survive because of its high-water content. The rhizome either needs to be dried first or incinerated at very high temperatures.  

It could be illegal: 

According to the United Kingdom public sector of information website, if you’re a business that wants to burn Japanese knotweed, you legally cannot do it yourself unless: 

  • You inform the Environmental Health Officer at your local council. 
  • You get a “burning waste in the open” exemption (a D7 exemption). 
  • You follow local by-laws and not cause a nuisance.
  • You tell the Environment Agency at least a week before you burn it.  

If you’re an individual who wants to burn Japanese knotweed, you must check with your local council that burning is allowed, or you could be breaking the law. 

It could harm yourself and the environment: 

Burning the plant may also release harmful chemicals and toxins in the air posing risks to humans and animals, as well as the environment. The combustion of Japanese knotweed can release particulate matter and potentially harmful volatile organic compounds.  

What you should do instead: 

Instead of looking to burn Japanese knotweed and potentially create more issues for yourself, you should seek assistance from a professional Japanese knotweed specialist to ensure proper removal and disposal of the plant. Better control and disposal methods include herbicide treatments, excavation, or the use of impermeable root barriers. 

Choose Environet to help you deal with your invasive plant problem: 

  • We are fully committed to delivering consultancy and removal services tailored to you, without delays. 
  • With over 26 years’ experience, in Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant removal, our dedicated team of specialists will act fast to solve your plant problem.  
  • All our knotweed work is guaranteed, underwritten by an ‘AA- rated’ insurer. 
  • We are approved by the Property Care Association. 
  • We offer safe and eco-friendly ways to dispose of Japanese knotweed, bamboo, and other invasive species. 

In need of help? Contact our team by emailing: [email protected] or call us on 01932 868 700. 

Robert Spaceman

“We had a large stand of bamboo removed, thinned, contained and replaced. The customer service has been first class. Joe and Jason were fabulous and kept me well informed at all times”.