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Invasive plants - ivy, bamboo and possible dreaded JK

(6 Posts)
Mitzimaybe Mon 29-Jun-15 12:47:25

I've just taken over a new garden. It's very well kept in the main although I'm a bit concerned that a few shoots looked a bit like japanese knotweed - there are related non-problematic plants that it could be, aren't there? Stupidly, I pulled the shoots up instead of photographing them. If it re-grows, I'll photograph and come back here for ID.

There are large conifer hedges around some of the garden. In quite a few places there is ivy growing through it. I've had problems with ivy before. Other than pulling out the visible stems, is there anything I can do to keep it under control? Most of it originates in neighbours' gardens.

Finally, bamboo - invading from a clump next door. I probably have to dig out what's already established but can I put some sort of barrier along the fence line? How tough does it need to be, and how deep does it need to go? (E.g. would tough black plastic do the job or does it have to be much harder?) Do I have any right to ask my neighbour to put the barrier their side / pay for it, or do I just have to suck it up?

shovetheholly Mon 29-Jun-15 14:37:48

There are lots of things that look a bit like Japanese knotweed, so chances are it isn't. It doesn't sound like you have a full-scale invasion, so even if you do have it, it shouldn't cost much to get rid of it.

Ivy can cause problems with brickwork and can strangle very delicate plants like herbaceous perennials. But it's also an incredibly rich plant in ecosystem terms, and will help to provide a habitat for wildlife. I am actually deliberately cultivating it in my nasty privet hedge to provide some more creatures with a habitat, and to keep the growth of the godawful privet down - it doesn't need cutting as often where the ivy is strong, and you get the lovely glossy foliage in the winter. Plus, my garden is now full of the most beautiful little blue butterflies, which seem to love it. I just pull it out or chop it when it hits the ground, as I don't want it growing through my beds. What conifers do you have? I think I'd be tempted to leave it in there if it's not causing too many problems. Please don't be put off English ivy (hedera helix) by articles from American forums. The problems associated with it in the US aren't necessarily applicable here.

Bamboo - a regular complaint on these forums, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, if you want to stop it coming in, it's your responsibility to install a barrier, not theirs. I would dig down really deep (a couple of feet) and cut off the roots that are on your side of the fence. Then put in a very strong, flexible plastic rhizome barrier. Doing this, and keeping an eye out for any unwanted sideshoots and removing these, should do the trick.

Mitzimaybe Mon 29-Jun-15 15:48:39

Thanks for the advice and the link on the bamboo barrier.

I didn't know that ivy was so good for wildlife. I'm all in favour of doing my bit for wildlife e.g. there is a small patch of nettles in one corner of the garden and I am definitely keeping them for the butterflies. Apparently there's a hedgehog although we haven't seen it yet, but I'll be thrilled if we do. So I'll leave all the ivy unless it's getting too bad.

I suspect the conifer hedges are leylandii. All the houses on the estate have them and it's a shared boundary so I can't unilaterally get rid of them. They are kept under control, though.

bowsaw Mon 29-Jun-15 16:41:00

sycamore seedlings when coming through are often mistaken for JK, if JK it will be back very shortly

Ivy very good for bees late in the season when it blooms

Mitzimaybe Tue 30-Jun-15 17:22:17

The shoots weren't like sycamore seedlings; I've pulled loads of those out of my mum's garden so I'm quite familiar with them. I'll take a photo when if they come back.

Mitzimaybe Tue 30-Jun-15 17:30:21

Apparently JK is edible and tastes quite similar to rhubarb so, if my worst fears are realised, at least I won't go hungry.

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