Over on Jane Perrone’s gardening blog for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, there’s news of a new initiative to control Japanese knotweed, Fallopia japonica. British government ministers are seeking people’s views on a proposal to release the non-native insect, Aphalara itadori, to help control it. The insect is a psyllid (jumping plant louse) that feeds on the sap of Japanese knotweed, weakening the plant and making it easier to kill.
OK… Where shall we start?
1. This follows the highly suspect rationale of introducing one non-native species to control another – not an idea crowned with undaunted success.
2. It doesn’t control Japanese knotweed anyway, the British government says the insect will only “attack the plant to reduce its vigor, thus reducing the use of chemicals and the costs of control including weedkillers and physical removal”.
3. Jane quotes scientists as saying: “it's unlikely to start attacking other plants that we'd rather not see decimated, or to affect native fauna.”. Hello! An attractive garden perennial from Japan is unlikely to start emerging through the middle of concrete paths.
4. The government also says: “The findings suggest that only a few closely-related non-native knotweeds are potential hosts in Britain.’ Garden plants, perhaps? At least it will attack those ghastly variegated Japanese knotweeds some nurseries sell!
You have three months to object to this, start here.
In the meantime, enjoy this great video that Jane found on YouTube.