Most plants are a beautiful addition to a garden, however, there are certain weeds and plants that should be avoided and could cause significant damage if left unchecked.
Japanese knotweed, for example, can spread rapidly and can cause a considerable amount of damage to a property’s structure.
The invasive plant affects four to five percent of UK homes directly or indirectly, according to OnTheMarket, however, new research from GoCompare home insurance has found that less than a third of Britons (28 percent) would be able to spot the plant if they saw it.
The number of cases involving Japanese Knotweed has increased by 28 percent in the past five years, according to reports.
Being able to recognise the plant is essential as it has to be declared when a homeowner sells a property.
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Japanese knotweed can grow more than 20cm a day and can grow to be up to 10ft tall. The plant’s rhizomes can spread rapidly underground and can be more than seven metres wide which can make it difficult to remove.
The plants can cause devastating damage to a property from growing through tarmac to paving, drains and even walls.
Go.Compare’s Home Insurance expert, Ceri McMillan said: “Japanese knotweed can cause real issues if it’s left unattended, and the speed with which it grows means that problems can arise quickly.
“So, being able to spot the plant quickly will almost definitely save you money in the long term.
“In a worst-case scenario, the plant can devalue your property as it has to be declared when you sell a property, meaning that potential buyers may offer a lower amount or even walk away from a sale.”
Matthew Harwood, Confused.com’s home and lifestyle insurance expert said Japanese knotweed “infestations” could soon “increase” as the invasive plant starts to emerge in spring and flower in summer.
He said: “Over 50,000 infestations of harmful plants, including Japanese knotweed, have been reported around the country. And it’s expected that this could soon increase, as Japanese knotweed begins to emerge in spring and flower in summer.”
The expert urged homeowners to check if their properties are affected as they will need to “act quickly before any damage is caused”.
Mr Harwood explained what homeowners should do if they notice Japanese knotweed on their property.
He said: “If you’re asked about the presence, be honest to avoid claims being rejected.
“Claiming for damage caused to your property depends on your efforts to control it and how comprehensive your policy is.
The cost of removal or neighbouring property damage is your responsibility.
“While knotweed is relatively harmless, it can become a nuisance as it tends to spread quickly, and can cause damage to foundations, patios and walls.”