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Invasive plant species spotted in West Michigan, concerning experts

Invasive plant species spotted in West Michigan, concerning experts

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - An invasive species of plant in our area is causing concern.

Environmental experts say the plant is so strong it can grow through your home's foundation and large outbreaks could affect property values.

The plant we're talking about is called Japanese knotweed.

It can grow six to eight feet tall, spreads year after year, and is extremely difficult to kill.

The invasive species is now on the radar of invasive species expert Ryan Koziatek from the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

"It's only been growing to this height for about the past few weeks, so a few weeks of growth and it gets pretty impressive," he said.

It's impressive not only because of size, but also because of its robust nature. Don't even think about cutting it down.

"By doing that, it stimulates the root system to grow more underground and up sprouts more top plants in the season," Koziatek said.

Koziatek says the plants are also extremely destructive to your home. Large outbreaks can potentially threaten property values.

"It can burst through concrete, foundations of homes," he said. "To actually have enough strength to move through stuff like that yeah, pretty impressive."

Thanks to a grant through the DNR, regions across the state are forming cooperatives to address the pesky plant.

Strike teams are searching for the plant daily, and creating plans for killing them.

Best of all, there's an app for you at home to make reports too. The app shows you what invasive species look like. And if you see one, report it.

"That report then goes to a statewide data base and is shared through organizations like ours," Koziatek said.

Koziatek says in some cases the strike team will come out and kill the plants on your property. Otherwise, they can advise you on proper eradication methods.

"We want to find them early, but we want to treat them as soon as possible so they don't become established population," he said.

Koziatek manages invasive species in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Barry Counties.

He says so far there have been 500 sightings of Japanese knotweed in Kalamazoo County alone.

Those numbers are only expected to go up.

Newschannel 3 spoke to Strike Team members from the Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area for Allegan County. They say they're going to door to door alerting homeowners if members see Japanese Knotweed in yards. Homeowners are told the Strike Team could come back and take care of the weed for them. The group says they plan to start treating plants starting in June.

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Info about BCK, CISMA or others:

Michigan Invasive Species Coalition

Midwest Invasive Species Information Network - MISIN

Best control practices:

Michigan Natural Features Inventory


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