CROSBY has been named as a ‘hotspot’ in the north west for the dreaded Japanese knotweed.
The plant can cause a huge headache for local homeowners because its presence can cause a damage to a property and is difficult to kill.
According to Environet, a firm which specialises in the removal of Japanese knotweed, Crosby, St Helens and Newton-le-Willows are some of the badly hit areas across the region.
Following its winter hibernation, knotweed begins to grow at the incredible rate of around 10cm a day from May until July and can reach up to three metres in height by mid-summer.
Homeowners spending more time in their gardens may notice purple or red asparagus-like shoots now emerging from the ground and quickly growing into lush green shrubs with heart or shovel-shaped leaves and pink-flecked stems.
Pushing up through cracks in concrete, driveways, patios, paths, drains and even the cavity walls of homes, Japanese knotweed can reduce a property’s value by 10% and make it difficult to sell.
Environet say there are 130 ‘infestations’ in Crosby within a 4km radius, which is the fifth highest area in Merseyside.
The general public can help in the fight against knotweed by reporting suspicious plants using a heatmap by Environet and an ‘Add Sighting’ feature which can include a photo to be verified by experts.
Mat Day, Environet’s regional director for Merseyside, said: “Knowledge is power when it comes to Japanese knotweed and this heatmap is invaluable to homeowners and buyers who want to assess the risk in their local area.
“With the stamp duty holiday extended and lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, the property market is busier than ever – but failing to carry out the appropriate checks for knotweed can turn out to be an expensive mistake.
“Despite its fearsome reputation, with professional help, the plant can be dealt with and the value of a property largely restored.
“I’d urge anyone buying or selling a property, or homeowners wishing to preserve the value of their home, to be vigilant for signs of spring growth and check Exposed to see whether they live in a high-risk area.”