On the lookout for this ‘wicked’ weed

Japanese knotwood capable of moving concrete, residents warned.

South Surrey resident Mardie Wolsey inspects a Japanese knotweed plant he found near his home.

South Surrey resident Mardie Wolsey inspects a Japanese knotweed plant he found near his home.

A South Surrey resident is raising the alarm over an invasive plant he recently discovered near his home.

Mardie Wolsey was picking blackberries with his grandchildren at 26 Avenue and Cranley Drive, near Sunnyside Park, when a suspicious-looking plant caught his eye.

Having recently read an article in Macleans about Japanese knotweed – and how it is aggressively taking over certain parts of the province – Wolsey recognized its broad green leaves, round, bamboo-like stems and small white flowers.

After sending pictures of the plant to the provincial forest ministry’s invasive plant department, Wolsey’s suspicions were confirmed.

“They thanked me for noticing it, and confirmed that it is knotweed,” Wolsey said. “They told me that they will get at it, and I hope they do. It’s wicked stuff.”

According to Jennifer Grenz, project manger with the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver, Japanese knotweed poses a “huge risk” to the local environment and infrastructure.

“It’s capable of upheaving concrete, cracking foundations,” Grenz told Peace Arch News. “It’s something that’s happened to such an extent in the U.K. that people are being denied insurance and mortgages because of it. It’s only a matter of time over here before that begins to be an issue.”

The council has been working over the past five years to bring together municipalities, the province and federal representatives – as well as utility companies like BC Hydro and Fortis – to battle the knotweed infestation around B.C.

Grenz said that educating private residents about the dangers of knotweed – and how to eradicate it – is “the last piece of the puzzle” in the battle against the invasive plant.

The ISCMV has set up a website – www.knotonmyproperty.com – which provides information about knotweed, and the dos and don’ts of dealing with it.

Among the don’ts, Grenz notes, is cutting or digging out the weed.

“A lot of the spread that occurs is because of poor choices in management,” she said, noting that knotweed has a “massive” root system, and what you see above ground is a small portion of the full plant.

“You need a herbicide that will move all the way through the plant into the humungous root system, either by way of injection guns or spraying or wiping the plant, depending on where it is.”

According to Nadia Chan, natural areas co-ordinator for the City of Surrey, an eradication program has been in place throughout the city’s parks for 10 years. Additionally, a program to remove knotweed from city roadsides was put in place two years ago.

“We identify locations with the knotweed and put them on a scheduled program for eradication and follow-up maintenance,” Chan told PAN, noting the plant is treated with stem injections or spraying throughout July and August. “We follow up with yearly monitoring on all those sites and provide treatment the second and third year, if required.”

Chan said Surrey is currently managing knotweed in about half of the city’s natural area parks, noting some sites are simply a few stems whereas others are a few square metres of plant.

“Roadside sites tend to be larger because the plant is very easily spread by mowing,” she pointed out.

Surrey residents who spot Japanese knotweed on city property are asked to call the parks service request line at 604-501-5050; for knotweed on private property, Chan recommended contacting the ISCMV.

For Wolsey, whose townhouse is less than a block from where he discovered the knotweed, getting the problem under control in his neighbourhood needs to be a priority before homes become affected.

“People around here should be notified so that they can keep their eyes out for it,” he said.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

Dooris Raad was last seen in South Surrey’s Ocean Park neighbourhood on June 7. (Surrey RCMP photo)
Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Scales of Justice, Image courtesy Creative Outlet
Teacher’s elbow injury case against Surrey School District, WorkSafeBC struck by judge

Judge says processes put in place by legislation, collective agreement must be followed

Doris Anderson’s digital triptych Aberration, which she is marketing as an NFT.
Semiahmoo Peninsula abstract painter dives into NFT market

Works sold as one-of-a-kind digital files

Vancouver law courts. (File photo)
Surrey murderer loses appeal in 2011 Christmas eve shooting in Newton

Bradley McPherson, 28, was shot in the back of the head during an after-hours house party

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Cruise ship passengers arrive at the port of Ketchikan, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Most Read