Getting to root of worst weeds; proper ty matters with MARTIN ROBERTS.
| Certain weeds are detrimental to buildings and must be eradicated. They can also grow very quickly and overwhelm native UK plants, which is bad for our eco-systems.
Most unwelcome is Japanese Knotweed, which can spread at a ferocious rate and penetrate through concrete, causing extensive structural damage.
It is so damaging, that it is an offence to plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to spread in the wild under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
And all waste containing Japanese Knotweed comes under the control of Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Go to www.enviroment-agency.gov.uk for information on identification and how to eradicate it.
Giant Hogweed is also listed in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which means it's an offence to plant it in the wild. Any contact with the plant can cause severe skin irritation.
The plant can grow to 5m tall, and the seed heads contain up to 50,000 seeds which can stay dormant for up to 15 years.
Other plants listed by Natural England and named in the Weeds Act 1959 are: Common Ragwort, Spear Thistle, Creeping or Field Thistle, Curled Dock and Broad-leaved Dock. It is not an offence to have them in your garden or on your land, but you must not allow them to spread onto agricultural land, because they are poisonous to animals.
| A grotty, falling down garden fence will make even a well kept garden look unloved, so make sure yours is in good nick.
A dilapidated fence is also likely to annoy your neighbours and whilst there is nothing they can do to force you to repair it, ignoring requests will only create bad feeling.
If you are unsure who owns the boundary fence, check the title deeds but usually the side with the fence posts or struts is the owner.
| Whilst there's no law prohibiting garden fires or the times they can be lit, they're not likely to be popular with your neighbours and can be quite polluting.
Don't burn anything which will create excessive smoke or noxious fumes - although bonfires can be the best way to get rid of diseased garden waste. Try to compost as much as you can and recycle household rubbish rather than burning it.
| To find out more about Martin Roberts and for property advice visit www.martinroberts.co.uk