Residents urged to check their gardens

Beech Hill resident Patricia Snowden is concerned about an outbreak of weeds that have spread in her garden

Beech Hill resident Patricia Snowden is concerned about an outbreak of weeds that have spread in her garden

A green-fingered Wigan resident has issued a warning about an invasive weed even though her own garden scare has proved to be a false alarm.

Patricia Snowden was worried Japanese knot-weed had overrun parts of her garden and urged fellow residents to make their own checks for the pesky weed known as a thug of the plant world.

Luckily for Mrs Snowden, 74, her garden was not over-run with knot-weed but others have been warned they may not be so lucky.

The Beech Hill resident said: “I think people need to know what it looks like because they might not know they have it or know what it is. If they’re like me and take a lot of care with their gardens they will want to take steps to prevent it.”

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) describes knotweed as a “real thug” as it spreads rapidly, suppressing all other growth around it and is seen as a menace to bio-diversity. Wigan conservationist Graham Workman has in recent years issued a stark warning about the threat of knotweed and its equally invasive cousin Himalayan Balsam.

He also urged gardeners who think they have seen Japanese knotweed and are tempted to take a pair of shears to the plant to think again, saying some rather unusual methods are being used to try and curb the spread of aggressive plants. He said: “In Manchester, conservationists have released an insect called the Japanese jumping plant louse, which eats the knotweed and keeps it down to a manageable size but doesn’t pose a risk to native species. We’ve got evidence they are about in Wigan so hopefully that will help. People can consider spraying their own gardens but what we don’t want is people cutting it down. One of the issues with knotweed is it grows from almost anything,”