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Plant warning: The nine plants which are ‘criminal’ to have in your garden

Not all plants are considered good for the environment. In fact, some are heavily regulated in the UK and while it is usually not illegal to grow them in your own garden, controlling the spread of these plants is crucial to prevent further damage to neighboring properties or wildland. Intrusive plants don’t always look unpleasant as they spread throughout the garden, with the attractive green leaves on Japanese knotweed and the striking purple seed heads on spear thistle offering an enticing garden display, but this makes them even harder to identify as harmful species.

Fantastic Gardeners said: “These plants tend to spread vigorously, making their control costly and difficult. Fines and regulations would apply to anyone who fails to abide by the law.”

And even native species can prove harmful, with Terry Smithson, Biodiversity Manager and Ecologist at Bioscapes, telling us that plants “like ragwort and creeping thistle are recognized as harmful under the Weeds Act of 1959 as they can become a problem to farmers or for livestock “.

However, he noted: “Being native species they are rarely a problem in natural habitats and, indeed, are be a valuable component of the ecosystem. Ragwort for example provides a valuable source of nectar for many insects and the beautiful cinnabar moth feeds almost exclusively on common ragwort.

“Invasive non-native species of plants have usually arrived in the UK free from the creatures which munch on them and prevent them becoming dominant. As very few of our native herbivores are able to eat these plants they can become aggressive and drown out other native species of plants. Himalayan balsam, for example, has become so abundant along our watercourses that it has smothered most of the native plants and grasses. Unfortunately as Himalayan balsam dies back in the winter it makes the now bare banks very vulnerable to erosion and damage .”

Spotting prohibited plants growing on your property is easy to do when you know what to look for, and these are just nine key species you should know about according to Fantastic Gardeners.

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curled dock

Known as a flexible weed, the curled dock plant will outcompete most native species.

Curled dock and broad-leaved dock are both covered by the Weeds Act, 1959.

japanese knotweed

This invasive plant can grow almost anywhere, causing significant issues to homeowners once it spreads throughout the garden.

Japanese knotweed can take years to eradicate completely and can cost upwards of £10,000 to be professionally removed.

Rhododendron ponticum

Although the small purple flowers may be deceptive, this widespread, tall plant is considered problematic for several reasons.

Not only can it grow to a considerable height, but it will block sunlight for competing plants while doing so.

Eradication costs the UK millions every year, and is not easy to get rid of for good.

Himalayan Balsam

This intrusive species can be easily spread by animals, wind and rivers, making it hard to stop when it begins to grow.

Around 800 seeds can be found on each plant, leaving plenty of opportunity for these ripe seed pods to shoot up to 22 feet away from its original site.

giant hogweed

This uniquely shaped weed is filled with a powerful chemical known as furanocoumarins, which can cause significant injury when the sap touches human skin.

A burning sensation and permanent scarring makes this very dangerous to passers-by and is strictly controlled for this reason.

New Zealand pigmyweed

This invasive weed is known to kill any native species in its path, posing a considerable threat to your garden and surrounding land.

Sales of this plant have been banned since 2014 in the UK in order to control the rapid spread.

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