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Even though winter is just around the corner, there are still plenty of changes you can make to your garden to ensure it doesn’t grow out of control. De-weeding, pruning, composting and even trimming the grass on a dry day are all possible ways to spruce up your garden. But experts have warned that there are plants in UK gardens that could devalue homes and cost thousands to remove.
Some of them can cause damage to your home if they’re left to grow and can even make mortgage providers cautious to lend on a property.
Surveyor experts at Allcott Associates and Bankrate UK have listed a number of plants British homeowners should be aware of.
Here’s a list of plants and trees that you should be wary of in UK properties.
Japanese Knotweed is a plant that can cause numerous problems for homeowners.
In fact, most mortgage providers are likely to avoid lending on a property that has Japanese Knotweed.
Kim Allcott, of Allcott Associates, said: “Japanese knotweed can leave homeowners at risk of devaluation and also puts surveyors at risk of costly claims.”
The weed is known for being extremely fast-growing and can even grow up to 10cm per day.
What damage can Japanese Knotweed do to my property?
It can even grow through concrete which can create cracks in brickwork, patios and other parts of homes.
The nightmare weed can devalue a property between five and 15 percent, according to Knotweed Help.
Ms Allcott added: “Japanese knotweed has been known to cause structural damage to almost any part of a building it can reach, from tarmac drives to drainage pipes and foundations.”
Mojo Mortgages said: “Japanese knotweed is a nightmare. Most lenders decline on the spot as the risk is too high.
“Some mortgage providers will even decline an application if the weed is found on the neighbouring property.”
How do I get rid of Japanese Knotweed?
The plant is famous for its bamboo-like stems, huge leaves and for being extremely tall.
The weed actually affects four to five percent of UK properties and has wiped £20billion off house prices in the UK.
What makes the plant even more difficult is the removal process.
It can cost upwards of £10,000 and can take up to three years to remove.
Homeowners have to receive a treatment certificate once it has been completely removed.
Britons should also be aware that even though it’s not the most unattractive plant, it’s actually illegal to plant it or allow it to grow in the wild.
If it spreads from your garden to a neighbour’s property, you could be liable for a lawsuit.
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Giant Hogweed can be mistaken for cow parsley but can reach up to five metres in height.
The plant has a green stem with purple spots and has white flowers in the summer.
What damage can Giant Hogweed do to my property?
An expert at Bankrate said: “Giant hogweed, although stunning when fully grown, causes concern amongst surveyors because of its toxicity.”
The sap in the plant can make the skin become extremely sensitive to sunlight called photosensitivity.
Some people can get blisters, burns, scars and pigmentation on their skin from the plant.
It is illegal to plant this weed but legally you don’t have to get rid of it.
The government website reads: “You must not import, transport, keep, breed, sell, use or exchange, grow or cultivate, or release into the environment certain invasive alien species.
“If you do so, you can be fined or sent to prison for a maximum of up to two years.”
How do I get rid of Giant Hogweed?
Giant Hogweed is fairly simple to remove but skin needs to be covered and it needs to disposed of at a licensed landfill site.
There is also a chance it could re-grow after removal so the area needs to be checked regularly.
Willow, Oak and Poplar Trees
These trees might be commonplace in the UK but they can actually be a nuisance if they’re left to grow out of control.
Regions in the UK with clay soils are more susceptible to damage from these trees, according to Allcott Associates.
Willow, Oak and Poplar trees have big roots which draw a lot of water from the ground and this in turn can shrink the soil, destabilise foundations and lead to subsidence in houses.
What damage can Willow, Oak and Poplar trees do to my property?
Subsidence can cause structural damage to a home with roots also able to break through concrete and drainage pipes.
If the roots are really large, they can even damage the foundations of a home.
Mortgage lenders can also refuse to lend on a property with trees like this nearby.
How do I get rid of Willow, Oak and Poplar trees?
A Bankrate expert said: “It’s difficult to put costs against these issues.
“If surveyors think there’s a risk that a tree could cause structural movement, we recommend soil and root analysis.
“These investigations are normally in the region of £1,000 and need to be overseen by a structural engineer.”
Homeowners should seek specialist advice before trying to remove certain plants themselves.
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