SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> A rapidly expanding invasive plant is wreaking economic and environmental havoc in Saratoga County.
Japanese knotweed can damage sidewalks, foundations and water lines, and causes streambank erosion that seriously impacts fishing, kayaking and related activities on waterways such as Kaydeross Creek.
Laurel Gailor, of Capital Mohawk PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management), discussed such threats during a recent program at Skidmore College.
“It can really affect property values,” she said. “It can deter people from buying. One woman told me she looked at a house in Saratoga Springs and pulled her offer off the table because she saw knotweed growing on the property.”
Knotweed, which may grow 15 feet high, first came to the U.S. from Asia in the 1890s when it was used as packing material for overseas shipping. Like many invasives, it has grown steadily over time and has now become quite problematic.
Japanese knotweed is found in 42 states coast to coast except the arid Southwest, several of the Deep South Gulf states and the highest of the Rocky Mountains. It is also in eight Canadian Provinces.
It’s commonly found along streams and rivers and quite often it’s moved by high water. Pieces carried downstream take hold and soon begin to spread. Many areas along the Kaydeross are lined with knotweed, which has a white flower, Gailor said.
Worst of all, the plant is extremely difficult to eradicate. Rhizomes, or roots, have an extensive underground network. So chopping the plant down…
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