The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Land Management => Topic started by: Farthingale33 on May 02, 2014, 01:32:11 pm

Title: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Farthingale33 on May 02, 2014, 01:32:11 pm
Hello

I am a potential accidental smallholder. I am going through the process of buying a small holding. We are just waiting for solicitors now, but were notified that knot weed had been found and was being treated. We went round to check and found it popping up in the house garden (4m from house) a lot by the barn (right next to it) and in a slate tiled garden. The problem with the slate garden is it is just over the stone wall from a field full of bramble, so much so you cant get it in. If it spreads in there it will be a nightmare. It has also spread over the fence into next door's field, and there is a long ditch, running the length of the fields, and heading for another farm (they connect up).

I was just wondering what other people think about how easy it is to defeat the knot weed. I was going to go completely organic. I am seriously considering walking away and taking the loss of the fees I have spent so far. I am also worried about the legal situation. We aren't responsible for neglecting the land so it got into the state it is in, but once we buy it will we be liable?

Thanks for your help
Farthingale33
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: lilfeeb on May 02, 2014, 02:28:20 pm
Do you mean japenese knotweed?
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_japonica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallopia_japonica)

It is quite hard to get rid of and has to be treated as controlled waste, so can be expensive to dispose of. Herbicides being the best way which may go against your organic principles.

Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Bionic on May 02, 2014, 02:40:01 pm
I don't know much about it but I think MAB may have had a problem with it so perhaps he can advise.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: marka on May 02, 2014, 03:29:57 pm
Knotweed is a nightmare to get rid of - you may end up digging down as much as 6m deep in order to completely remove the roots - treatment by weedkiller / herbicides etc is only usually effective when dealing with small clumps.
If the existing landowner is 'dealing' with it, then perhaps you could insist that this is done by a licensed contractor who offers some form of insurance backed guarantee - that way if it re-appears you could call on the guarantee without you having to bear the cost.
Failing that, if its as extensive as you state, then I would seriously consider cutting your losses and walking away or perhaps renegotiate a much reduced price that reflects the cost of treating the knotweed properly.

Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Simon O on May 02, 2014, 03:32:59 pm
There is a LOT of info about knotweed control on the internet. You will not be able to control it organically, short of removing massive amouts of soil along with all root systems, which as noted above needs to be treated as controlled waste. We have a fair bit of it which we have controlled reasonably with glyphosate, applied repeatedly at higher than usual concentration over about 3 years. However there are extensive root systems which can reactivate on disturbance, and small amounts always seem to resprout. It is not supposed to seed, but tiny root fragments eg transferred on boots or wheelbarrow inadvertently, may start a new clump. It has emerged in my strawberry bed, and I am not sure how it got there. It sounds as if the growths in your place are going to be very difficult to control and probably impossible to eradicate, and being so close to the house, may leave you with a problem if you are selling years down the line.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: arwelcoed on May 02, 2014, 05:44:32 pm
Knotweed is bad news in buildings but it's not as bad as what some folk would have you believe if not pushing your foundations apart! It's very easy to kill the growth and the roots usually stop reproducing after about 3 years of treatment (stem injected glyphosate 2-3 times a year is the most effective way) the best organic solution (where practical obviously) is get some sheep to graze it... Works a treat!!
You would not be braking any laws by having it on your land or is it a legal duty of the land owner to get rid of it. But it does win you more friends if you do!!
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: shygirl on May 02, 2014, 05:50:17 pm
from what iv read about knotweed, it can seriously devalue your land and house, and cost alot to be removed. if you havent bought it, i would stay well clear. you may have lost money on solicitor fees, but that would be money well spent in my opinion.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: FiB on May 02, 2014, 06:28:37 pm
Nope. Not unless it was such a bargain that I could devote the rest of my years and budget getting rid, and still then have years of life and budget to spare... So probably still nope. It is mega to dispose of ( we had it in one of the woodlands I worked in.... #lifeswork!)
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: henchard on May 02, 2014, 06:36:29 pm
Why don't you tell the seller that the problem is extensive and you will only proceed if they pay for a qualified expert to inspect and treat the infestation; i.e. reducing the sale price by the cost of professional treatment?
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Penninehillbilly on May 02, 2014, 07:21:17 pm
house garden (4m from house)
a lot by the barn (right next to it)
in a slate tiled garden.
 field full of bramble,
over the fence into next door's field,
and there is a long ditch, running the length of the fields, and heading for another farm (they connect up).

Just to clarify, is all this land yours or some neighbours, which would re-infest yours if you get your area under control?
Are neighbours dealing with theirs?
Do you mean the ditch is full of it?
If it's any help, new shoots are edible, and I've been told goats like it.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Olha on May 03, 2014, 11:00:52 am
Have a look at some positive sides of the problem. The plant is great for bees, so may be just have bee hives. And this plant is a very medicinal, research more. It gives lots of green mass, so probably can be used for cattle or poultry. There is no waste in nature, we have to go from killing mentality.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: shygirl on May 03, 2014, 05:26:21 pm
id be worried about being sued by the neighbours if it spreads. apparently most of it is underground.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: mab on May 03, 2014, 08:13:15 pm
When I moved in ~2 yrs ago I had 1/5 acre in the garden within ~2m of the 'house'. Killed 99.9% in the first year (missed a few bits around the edges, and where I was trying to avoid killing other things), treated again last year and I have had 2 or 3 shoots so far this year so it's not gone yet - I think I may have missed them again in among the other weeds.


If you are willing to blitz it with glyphosate (roundup) once a year and don't mind taking a few years to clear it then I would view it as a bargaining chip. If you need a mortgage you may have trouble with it that close to the house as they may insist on instant (i.e. professional) removal.


It doesn't spread very fast as it doesn't really produce viable seeds, and if you don't disturb the roots before spraying you can kill even well established growths in one year (as long as you spray a few feet beyond where you think it ends).


You probably can kill it organically by grazing (allegedly - my sheep didn't eat it) or regular mowing but I don't know how long that would take - many years probably.
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: Farthingale33 on May 08, 2014, 09:05:21 pm
Thanks to everyone who responded - I was amazed to get so many replies. You have all sort of confirmed what I suspected, that the Japanese knotweed needs to go as it is too close to the barn (only 1ft away), and has already crossed to one neighbour's field. It is heading for the ditch, which would take it to another farm and probably the nature reserve beyond them. It has already been sprayed so I can't let any sheep graze it now. I would also worry about what it was up to under the barn. The ones in the garden need treating as well. I would like to try and get some commercial treatment with a 25yr guarantee, as that sounds a great idea, or a price reduction to pay for that, if we go ahead. I think we now need to decide if the place is special enough to make it worth all the extra hassle the Japanese knotweed adds. The smallholding is very run down and the house needs a lot of work too. There is also the issue of whether the mortgage company would pull out, which would put a stop to it all anyway.

Thanks, once again
Farthingale
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: FiB on May 09, 2014, 07:53:41 am
After googling knotweed pics (particularly pics of knotweed breaking into buildings), knotweed has been spreading In to my dreams grrrr!!!
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: cloddopper on May 09, 2014, 10:09:15 pm
Check with your local environmental health people .. something tells me in the back of my head that they have some useful input. Perhaps access to a Euro fund and chemicals ..

 One way I've recently seen by some organic /green gardeners on a TV prog about hitting it hard .
Is clean cutting the stem about 18 inches from the ground and filling the hollow stem with a strong glyphosate solution using a killer spray pump up pack with it coming out of the lance minus any jet attachment ..

Agricultural merchants sell 5 litre packs of a much stronger content far cheaper than the likes of the Big garden centres ..... friendly farmers can be most helpful .

I'd give this a twirl :-
Present the seller with an information pack about knot weed and offer a much lower price to reflect the problem .  If they don't play walk away .

 Once you have seven years on the holding without using glyphosates & listed chemicals  etc you can call yourself organic .. sounds good to me
 

 I noticed a few weeks ago on my way past Llangunnor Police station that the LA have treated four or five large road side patches .... possibly in this manner . What ever they have done it's certainly kicked its butt hard .. whether it kills it in one go is another matter .
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: pgkevet on May 10, 2014, 07:36:49 am
You can buy concentrated 5L glyphosate on ebay too.
When I stupidly used willow poles for an espalier frame and they rooted I painted any shoots/leaves with neat glyphosate. It took a few goes over half a season to turn them inert.

If knotweed is hollow then I'd have thought injecting the stems would be better than cutting them and having live material waste to deal with....?
Title: Re: Would you buy a small holding with knotweed spreading fast?
Post by: cloddopper on May 12, 2014, 12:15:16 am
It was evidently quicker and just as effective to use the pump sprayer less the nozzle to fill the hollow cut stem than to try and use a small bore tube to inject the Roundup into a complete undamaged stem .