Japanese Knotweed removal is often a long drawn out fight but one that is ultimately winnable.
So a short history of Fallopia japonica: introduced to Britain by Victorian plant hunters the plant rapidly became a prize-winning, greatly desired and admired garden plant which every self-respecting horticulturalist had to have in their modern fashionable garden.Things like “you simple must come and see my Fallopia japonica!” were probably said with chest swelling pride and the pursuit of gardening one-upmanship.
I wonder how long it took for that to change to “For heaven’s sake man take some of my Fallopia japonica its taking over the whole ruddy garden!” to “I don’t know just dig it up and dump it somewhere!”? Anyway back to Pwll Waun Cynon (were we there Graham? - the editor).
This reserve has a busy railway line running right through the middle of it, now I’m mentioning this for two reasons firstly it allows the possibility of a bit of amateur train spotting (my particular favourite at the moment is the old EWS coal train 66531) and secondly gives me the excuse to legitimately use the “we were on the wrong side of the tracks” literary devise (all very Film Noir minus the melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt, desperation and paranoia but with trains).
So being on the “wrong side of the tracks” our Knotweed battle began by removing the years of densely packed dead stems and detritus covering the actively growing clumps, blocking access and hiding the extent of the problem. This was quickly achieved by using the slash, drag and burn method (the dame was just stood there while exploding knotweed stems popped like muffled gunshots in the night, I removed my trench coat and gloom stained trilby…)Having now cleared around half the stand of this old growth it is now open enough to allow the control of the Knotweed in this part of Pwll Waun Cynon to start.
As with the other side of the reserve the plan is to eventually return this long neglected field to grazing to create a diverse meadow habitat (perhaps with a couple of strategically positioned lamp posts to stand under looking all Noir-ish?).
Graham Watkeys - Taf Fechan Warden
If you are inspired by Graham's writing to help us manage these problematic weeds then please consider contributing to our Non Native Invasive Species Appeal - yes we know the title is a little bit of a mouthful