New data has revealed the Essex hotspots where Japanese Knotweed, the UK’s most invasive plant, is running wild.

The invasive plant species is responsible for damaging homes, pavements and drains and can spread up to seven metres horizontally.

As the Japanese knotweed growing season gets underway, invasive plant specialist Environet UK has revealed the knotweed hotspots for spring using data from its online map.

There are currently almost 55,500 known occurrences of the UK’s most invasive plant.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Japanese Knotweed hotspots in southern Essex (Environet)Japanese Knotweed hotspots in southern Essex (Environet)

The most prominent hotspots for the plant in Essex are in Southend, where there are 35 occurences in a 4km radius, Brentwood (16 occurences in 4km radius) and Rayleigh (13 occurences in 4km radius).

Chelmsford, Colchester, Braintree, Clacton-on-Sea also have higher numbers in the county.

The full interactive map can be found here

How to spot Japanese Knotweed

Knotweed hibernates over winter but in March or April it begins to grow, with red or purple spear-like shoots emerging from the ground which quickly grow into lush green shrubs with pink-flecked stems and bamboo-like canes.

The roots can grow as deep as three metres and spread up to seven metres horizontally. 

What to do if you have Japanese Knotweed

The first step to tackling the plant is to commission a professional Japanese Knotweed survey and find out the extent of the infestation. They will be able to tell you where it originated, and the best way to tackle it.

Professional treatment should then be organised, which usually involves the use of herbicide for excavation of the infestation.

If you’re buying a property and you want to be sure it’s clear of knotweed, particularly if it’s located in or near a hotspot, arrange a detection survey.