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Homeowner issues warning about aggressive plant species taking over yard: 'They are coming up all over'

"I started digging some up and they had bulbs and big roots."

"I started digging some up and they had bulbs and big roots."

Photo Credit: Reddit

It didn't take long for green-fingered sleuths to unravel a mystery that had been plaguing one Redditor. 

The original poster uploaded a picture to the r/whatisthisplant community of green shoots springing up in spots across their yard.

"What are these plants? They are coming up all over my backyard," the OP captioned the post, adding: "The plants seem invasive and are everywhere. I started digging some up and they had bulbs and big roots."

In no time at all, one commenter issued a very simple reply: "Japanese knotweed. Good luck."

Indeed, Japanese knotweed is an invasive species that is notoriously difficult to get rid of. For example, according to the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, simply mowing knotweed can promote the spread of the plant.

Its roots can go deep, too, with Gardeners' World noting they can get as far as one meter into soil. Even if you think you have removed the whole root, it can still sprout from tiny sections that might be left behind.

Since it can spread quickly and abundantly, it has the potential to outcompete other plants for vital nutrients, water, sunlight, and space, meaning the knotweed can be a real danger to existing growth in your garden. 

While herbicides should be avoided when possible considering the harmful chemicals they contain and the damage they can do to the plants you want to keep, it might be the only option to get rid of the menace for good. 

The unfortunate situation emphasizes why it's so important to only install native plants in a garden. These are well-suited to local soil types and weather conditions, and they are unlikely to grow out of control. English ivy, mint, and nasturtiums are all examples of plants some people have planted outside of pots and soon come to regret. 

What's more, native plants require a lot less water, bring pollinators that are vital to maintaining a healthy food supply, and need far less maintenance than traditional monoculture lawns.

If you find knotweed in your garden, it's wise to seek professional help, as it has been known to damage property foundations and even reduce house prices — or discourage lenders from providing money for a purchase. 

"I just want to add to this very comprehensive post: do not dig!" one commenter advised. "When digging you will disturb the plants and it will fight back by shooting suckers everywhere."

"Another solution that could work for you, based on the apparent easy access and flat terrain, is to tack some thick gauge wire mesh against the ground prior to the spring shoots coming up," another added. "The plant will grow through, expand, and collar itself to death. This helps prevent spreading and saps the rhizome of resources."

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