Thomas Munson

Invasive species taking root in Greater Victoria

Knotweed described as “one of the world’s worst invasive species.”

The Capital Regional District is facing an invasion of knotweed, a bamboo-like plant described by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “one of the world’s worst invasive species.”

The Coastal Invasive Species Committee (CISC) has been working with local municipalities in an attempt to prevent the introduction of knotweed to the CRD. CISC  treated 120 sites of infestation last year, as well as 67 in 2012.

Executive director Rachelle McElroy cited an increased awareness of the plant as the reason for treatment almost doubling.

“Knotweed is quite widespread in the region, but not to the point where we can’t get ahead of it,” McElroy said. “More people are reporting it as they become more aware of what it looks like and the kind of damage it can do, and more people are learning that we offer free treatment.”

Knotweed is capable of growing four centimetres a day, though McElroy referred to the portion of the plan above surface as “the tip of the iceberg.” Knotweed spreads by the roots, and if left untreated, they can spread 20 metres wide and three metres deep underground.

Knotweed has been known to grow through concrete and home foundations. In the U.K., the plant has become a huge issue for property owners, even disqualifying some from taking out mortgages.

Knotweed can be identified by its hollow, bamboo-like stems, large green leaves, small white flowers and red colouring along the stems. Residents are asked not to cut, mow or compost knotweed, as this can lead to further spreading.

CISC treats knotweed by injecting a herbicide directly into the roots, effectively halting growth. McElroy noted the lack of a registered aquatic herbicide in Canada as an obstacle for prevention. This has lead to a higher rate of growth along streams, where knotweed competes with other plants, resulting in soil erosion and lower oxygen levels, harming salmon populations.

More information on knotweed can be found online at knotonmyproperty.com. If knotweed is found on your property, the CISC can be contacted at 250-857-2472 or by email at info@coastalisc.com.

Just Posted

Alcohol and drugs ruled out in serious crash that closed Sooke Rd last week

All three drivers taken to hospital have since been released

Needles found at Goldstream campground in Langford

West Shore RCMP respond to several calls for service associated with homeless campers

Only tent city residents allowed access at Goldstream Park campsites

Local RCMP point to reports of criminal activity and drug use in the area as cause for safety concerns

School crossing guard clears truck debris left from evening crash

Truck crashes into hydro pole on Saanich/Oak Bay border

Neighbours fear impact of tent city residents on Goldstream Provincial Park

Langford residents opposed to campers voice concerns at campground gate

5 things to do this weekend in and around Greater Victoria

Sooke Apple Fest returns, Saanich lights up with lantern festival and anarchists unite for downtown book fair

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Breast density to be included in mammogram results across B.C.

The information is crucial in proactively reducing the risk of breast cancer, doctors say

Most Read