Growing Concern Over Invasive Knotweed In Northern Michigan

A plant is a growing concern in parts of Northern Michigan, as it’s more destructive than it appears.

The knotweed is an invasive species, and the number of plants in the area is on the rise. If left unchecked, the plant can cause some serious problems.

9&10’s Aaron Parseghian looked into the weed problem, and what to do if you come across it.

“These knotweed plants grow really quickly and the stands can get up to 10 to 15 feet tall,” said Emmet County Road Commission Engineer/Manager Brian Gutowski.

If left unchecked this plant species known as knotweed, could have a devastating effect on Northern Michigan infrastructure.

It can ruin foundations, cause a fire hazard and even damage roads.

“The root system extends underground and grows underground and they showed pictures of driveways being pushed up by the root system and that’s the last thing that we want. It would be very difficult to treat something like that after its already there,” explained Gutowski.

More than 80 properties in the Little Traverse Bay area have already been identified as having the invasive species.

Property owners should be on the lookout for spade shaped leaves and hollow bamboo like stems.

The Emmet Conservation District says they can curb the problem with help from the public.

“Once it starts producing seeds we are going to have a bigger problem on our hand, so if we can get it now while these stands are manageable I think we can really make a difference and get rid of it. Hopefully protect some of our property values and ecological resources,” said Emmet Conservation District Manager Jackie Pilette.

If you come across knotweeds at your home you shouldn’t mow it, an herbicide treatment is necessary.

“Don’t cut it or mow it because that will start spreading new pieces, these above ground species on the stem can actually grow new plants. If you do cut it, burn it on site,” added Pilette.

For more information you can contact your local conservation district.

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