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.

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read