Japanese knotweed was introduced to the UK by the Victorians as an ornamental plant, but it soon escaped from gardens and began its rampant spread throughout the UK. What is Japanese knotweed? Biological control measures for Japanese knotweed are currently being researched, including the use of a psyllid from Japan as a suitable, safe agent to control Japanese knotweed in the UK. “If the psyllid can establish, reproduce and spread, and do the damage we see in the breeding trials, it can hopefully inhibit the growth and spread of Asian knotweed. The fast-growing plant can grow up to 13 feet tall and is so strong it can break through paving stones and tarmac. But with no natural enemies in the UK it soon raged out of control, wiping out surrounding vegetation and threatening wildlife. Public consultation news update regarding the ministerial approval by Defra on 9 March 2010 to release the psyllid. And the threat is real: it can lower house prices, threaten our bridges, and drive men to madness. We know from the Japanese knotweed psyllid that it can kill young shoots and slow down or even stop the growth of the plant by sucking up sap – nutrition – from the plant. Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a highly damaging invasive species affecting UK infrastructure and biodiversity. Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Current projects include hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash Aphalaris itadori, or the Japanese knotweed psyllid, feeds on this plant and can easily keep it under control. Dr Kate Constantine, from CABI, said: 'The results confirmed the psyllid to be a high-specialised natural enemy of Japanese knotweed. We know from the Japanese knotweed psyllid that it can kill young shoots and slow down or even stop the growth of the plant by sucking up sap – nutrition – from the plant. Continuing to use www.cabi.org means you agree to our use of cookies. Aphalara itadori, the Japanese knotweed psyllid, is a species of psyllid from Japan which feeds on Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). The species forms monospecific thickets of plants 2 to 4 meters tall. The psyllid release programme began … Kate Constantine, one of the CABI scientists working on the project, said: “The results confirmed the psyllid to be a high-specialised natural enemy of Japanese knotweed. In these areas, native vegetation is all but eliminated. Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing and strong clump-forming perennial, with tall, dense annual stems. The Government also notes that DEFRA is funding a biological control programme through the release of a psyllid insect to tackle Japanese knotweed and that research is underway into the use of leaf-spot fungus as a mycoherbicide to control the knotweed. Japanese Knotweed – An Invasive Plant That Is Proving Impossible to Control. Consent for experimental releases of the psyllid, Aphalara itadori was granted by Fera and Welsh Government in 2010. It grows incredibly quickly - more than one metre a month - and rapidly swamps any other vegetation in its path. Psyllid will be introduced to kill Japanese knotweed Credit: Photo: PA The psyllid is the name given to a whole family of jumping plant lice that are found all over the world. Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) is usually found in wet habitats, along river and stream banks, and in disturbed areas such as roadsides and old fields. Easy editing on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. 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