Putting Japanese Knotweed on trial
Transport for London has been using RootWave Pro to tackle Japanese Knotweed infestations for the last 18 months. Craig Ward of TDS Vegetation, London Underground says he is hugely encouraged by results.
The weed control problem
Japanese knotweed is an invasive non-native species, it is extremely hardy and difficult to remove. Its control is now covered by legislation due to the speed at which it spreads, out-competing local plant species.
Craig Ward said: “It overtakes all the local flora and fauna – destroying habitats for native wildlife. Protecting the local environment is very important to us and we are dedicated to reducing the use of chemicals like glyphosate and finding other ways of controlling invasive species”
Trials before purchase
RootWave made three demonstrations of a RootWave Pro machine tackling Japanese Knotweed at selected locations. TFL management were sufficiently encouraged by results that they purchased two RootWave Pro machines and are now running large internal trials across the network with a view to expanding their use of electrical weed control for invasive species.
Their current trial includes tackling the largest area of the invasive species on the TFL network on a site near London Underground track in Harrow, West London.
Better weed control with big cost savings
Most importantly, RootWave Pro is highly effective at killing Japanese Knotweed. Craig said: “The plant dies instantly when we use RootWave Pro, and crucially grow-back is significantly reduced. On small sites we have seen one treatment remove the plant, but on the large, dense sites we have done it in two or three visits – halving the number of treatments we would expect to make with conventional methods.”
The use of RootWave Pro has allowed Craig to significantly reduce his operational team for treating a single Japanese Knotweed site, while seeing better weed control. Where a large area of Knotweed would be treated with injecting Glyphosate Craig uses up to 12 men, with RootWave Pro he has a team of two on site.
Because the electricity kills the entire plant, including the roots, TFL can leave the plants on site to compost down – this saves man hours and the cost of disposing an environmentally sensitive material. At the end of the trial Craig will quantify the savings that using RootWave Pro will deliver, but he expects them to be “massive.”
About RootWave Pro – Zaps Weeds. Zero Chemicals.
RootWave Pro is a professional hand weeder designed for growers, gardeners, and groundskeepers to spot treat weeds and invasive species. It provides effective weed control without the use of chemicals, leaving zero residues and allowing soil, plants, and wildlife to thrive.
The capital costs of a RootWave Pro machine are greater than a standard knapsack sprayer, however it has extremely low running costs – using about £8 petrol/day if run from a generator, which is less than glyphosate spraying and injecting.
It is efficient and versatile. There are over 100 machines in use across Europe in a range of environments. The flexible system allows customers to set-up the machine to suit their requirements – arrangements in operation include working from an electric wheelbarrow to an ATV or from the back of a pick-up. The 27m cable allows for an area of over 2,200m2 to be treated from a single point before relocating to the next treatment area.
While perception is that electrical weed control is high carbon, its footprint is comparable to and often less than herbicide use when considering the carbon emissions from herbicide manufacture and use (Cranfield, 2009).
Electricide™ is a brand name of proprietary products and technology developed by RootWave which uses electricity to kill weeds.