Regeneration and growth in crowns and rhizome fragments of Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) and desiccation as a potential control strategy.
Reynoutria japonica (Japanese knotweed) is a problematic invasive plant found in many areas of Europe and North America. Notably, in the UK, the species can cause issues with mortgage acquisition. Control of R. japonica is complicated by its ability to regenerate from small fragments of plant material; however, there remains uncertainty about how much (in terms of mass) rhizome is required for successful regeneration. This study investigated the ability of crowns and rhizomes with different numbers of nodes to regenerate successfully from three sites in the north of England, UK. Two of the sites had been subject to herbicide treatment for two years prior to sampling and the third site had no history of herbicide treatment. No significant differences were observed in regenerated stem diameter, maximum height of stem and maximum growth increments among crowns. All traits measured from the planted crowns were significantly greater than those of the planted rhizome fragments and at least one node was necessary for successful regeneration of rhizomes. The smallest initial fragment weight to regenerate and survive the experiment was 0.5 g. Subjecting all plant material to desiccation for 38 days resulted in no regrowth (emergence or regeneration) after replanting. These findings suggest that desiccation could be a valuable management strategy for small to medium scale infestations common in urban settings.