Garden warning as tiny 'heart-shaped' leaves could signal weed that can cost £15,000

Japanese Knotweed
Japanese Knotweed can cause a host of problems -Credit:(Image: Getty)

If you spot tiny "heart-shaped" leaves sprouting in your garden, be warned, you could be facing a hefty £15,000 bill. These leaves indicate the presence of Japanese knotweed, a highly invasive plant known for its rapid underground spread and potential to cause property damage.

The cost of treating this weed can vary significantly, from a few hundred pounds to as much as £15,000, depending on the stage at which it is tackled. Additionally, if the plant encroaches onto neighbouring properties and you were previously aware of it, you could face legal issues.

Selling a property affected by Japanese knotweed requires full disclosure of its presence and any management strategies implemented, as failure to do so can lead to severe legal consequences, including being sued, according to David Sayce, managing director of Compare My Move. Taylor Weed Control highlights that one of the early signs of Japanese knotweed is the appearance of red and purple shoots in late spring, which eventually grow into leaves.

Experts have noted that the leaves, which can reach up to 20cm in length, resemble love hearts. Despite their charming appearance, these green leaves with reddish veins should not be underestimated due to the significant problems they represent.

Gardening expert Kendal Platt, from Adventures with Flowers, noted: "Japanese knotweed shoots look similar to bamboo shoots growing two to three metres tall," reports the Express.

In the springtime, Japanese knotweed is identifiable by its shield or heart-shaped leaves with a pointed tip, which grow at staggered intervals along the length of its shoots. These leaves can grow up to 20cm in length. During the winter months, the plant's leaves die back, leaving only brown, dead-looking canes visible above ground.

By late summer, Japanese knotweed produces bunches of creamy white flowers that appear amidst the foliage.