Japanese Knotweed /fallopia Japomica - Knowledgebase Question

Seattle, WA
Question by fshultz
June 18, 2001
I bought a Fallopia japonica recently and have learned that the Nature Conservancy considers it an invasive non-native. Can I use this attractive plant without harming the environment? What is the best way to grow it so that it won't cause harm, or are its problems confined to waterside areas?


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Answer from NGA
June 18, 2001

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Japanese knotweed is one of those plants that has escaped cultivation and become a noxious weed in some parts of western Washington. Birds can transport seeds quite a distance, depositing them where they congregate; most often near bodies of water or in forested areas. When this happens, the plant can grow unchecked until it finally crowds out native vegetation. I suspect that it also travels when prunings are dumped in forested areas instead of being disposed of properly. Japanese knotweed is a lovely plant, and you can keep it under control in your own garden by pruning it back when it gets too large. Just be careful with the prunings - either lay them out in the sun until they are completely dead before disposal, or place them in a plastic bag and set it in the sun until the contents are cooked. As long as you're a responsible gardener, you should be able to enjoy your plant without adversely impacting the local ecosystem.

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