On a gorgeous day in May I hiked from Wadhams to Essex on the CATs Grand Hike. While the official hike did not route here I wanted to end at Lake Champlain. While strolling along the lake I noticed a patch of Japanese Knotweed along the shore. Horror struck the pit of my stomach. If you have ever dealt with Japanese Knotweed as a homeowner you will know the horror.
Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica, is a perennial plant of the knotweed and buckwheat family. It is native to East Asia and in all other areas is invasive. World Conservation Union lists it among the worst invasive species worldwide. Japanese Knotweed is similar in appearance, though not related, to bamboo with hollow stems and raised nodes. Individual plants start small but can grow to 9-13 feet tall. It has broad, oval, long green leaves. White fragrant flowers blossom in late summer in the Adirondacks. Once someone points Japanese Knotweed out you’ll see it everywhere!
Japanese Knotweed is a voracious spreader. It developed two different spreading mechanisms. It spreads through root propagation and each individual node on the stalk. Thus, if a piece of knotweed gets in Lake Champlain then touches earth again, you’re almost certain to have a brand-new patch which will take hold and spread quickly and the cycle starts again. Japanese knotweed out competes native vegetation. It will also break up concrete and take down house foundations.
I had almost an acre at the house I bought. With the help of Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIP) I have been able to manage and hopefully eventually eradicate the Japanese Knotweed on my property. If every homeowner takes care of their infestation, we’ll make great headway to keeping Japanese Knotweed at bay. For more information watch this video from APIP and the Nature Conservancy.