Vegetative regeneration and distribution of Fallopia japonica and Fallopia x bohemica: implications for control and management
2010-11-11T10:01:52Z (GMT) by
Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decraene (Japanese knotweed), an introduced, invasive, rhizomatous perennial plant, has become an increasing problem for nature conservation and land management in both rural and urban areas in the British Isles. In the native range of the plant, Japan, Taiwan and northern China, a number of varieties are recorded. Three congeners of F. japonica are present in the British Isles, F. sachalinensis, F. japonica var. conipacta and F. baldschuanica in addition to a hybrid F. x bohemica. An investigation by postal survey of the distribution of the hybrid F. x bohemica has identified 131 records for the British Isles. Both male and female plants of F. x bohemica have been recorded. Current understanding suggests that only female plants of F. japonica are present in the British Isles, inferring that the only means of reproduction is through vegetative regeneration. High rates of regeneration were recorded in this study for stem and rhizome material for both F. japonica and F. x bohemica in an aquatic and terrestrial environment. Implications of vegetative regeneration are discussed in terms of current management practices and future methods of control. A combination of digging with a mechanical excavator followed by spraying with the herbicide glyphosate decreased the time required to achieve an effective level of control of F. japonica compared to spraying alone. Fragmentation of the rhizome system through digging resulted in an increase in stem density allowing a more effective delivery of herbicide. Implications in terms of costs for F. japonica treatment on sites awaiting re-development are discussed. Analysis of data collated from surveys of F. japonica in Swansea using a Geographical Information System suggest that the primary habitats infested are waste ground and stream and river banks. Results suggest that disturbance, both by natural means and by human intervention has been the primary cause of spread of F. japonica in the British Isles. Management strategies are proposed which take account of these results and measures are put forward to help prevent future infestations.