Knotweed sparks concern in White Rock

City staff say eradication strategy, implemented two years ago, working well.

A large cluster of Japanese knotweed was spotted at West Beach.

Despite concerns from residents who have spotted Japanese knotweed around White Rock, staff say eradication efforts over the past two years have been successful at working towards getting rid of the invasive plant.

Surrey resident John Brodie told Peace Arch News he spotted a cluster of knotweed between the train tracks and the shoreline on West Beach while visiting the city earlier this summer, and has seen it elsewhere on White Rock’s waterfront.

Two weeks ago, he returned to the beach and noticed that new shoots were beginning to sprout up near the larger plant.

“It’s very problematic,” Brodie said. “It just spreads like crazy and it’s very difficult to control unless you grab it early. I hate to see it getting a toehold down there.”

White Rock’s director of municipal operations, Greg St. Louis, said the city has had a management strategy in place since 2013, when nearly two dozen sites, including 11 in Duprez Ravine, were identified as having knotweed infestation.

“So far we’ve had a very good success rate in eradicating the plants that we’ve injected,” St. Louis said last week, noting about 80 per cent of targeted knotweed plants have been killed.

Next spring, St. Louis noted, the city will hire a contractor to undertake the “systemic injection” of chemicals that is required to contain and kill the plant.

Any residents who spot knotweed on city property – distinguishable by its broad green leaves, round, bamboo-like stems and small white flowers – can call the city’s engineering department at 604-541-2181.

St. Louis said the location will be added to a database, put on the list for injection in the spring, and then be tracked and monitored by staff moving forward.

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