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Cultivating Japanese Knotweed

 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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It seems to me japanese knotweed has 3 major benefits

1. Mulch- produces gobs and gobs of huge stalks and leaf material in a relatively small space. So easy (and fun) to chop down with any kind of cutting instrument. If you cut them while they are still green the stalks are crunchy and would make an awesome coarse mulch for your fruit trees, shrubs, ect. Would probably produce more mulch per square foot than any other plant that I know of.

2. Apple Rhubarb flavored shoots- Knotweed makes these awesome shoots in early april- mid april. very delicious. you want the thick, fat, short ones. I've heard the nutritional benefits are outstanding. You can access the shoots any time really by chopping down the plant and forcing it to make more shoots.

3. Medicinal- Roots are a cure for lyme.

I'm sure some native plant people would want to kill you if you planted this. Is it illegal to cultivate in most of the US? That would be a shame imo. 
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1435
Location: Vancouver Island
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mrchuck wrote:
It seems to me japanese knotweed has 3 major benefits



4. It grows so vigorously that blackberries can't compete.... Considering how hard it is to get rid of blackberries.... (without pigs) I am not sure I want it around.

There may be some places in N. America that have a climate that will keep it in bounds. Not here though.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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we used to have huge huge stands of knotweed before we had our housefire..but most of it was destroyed in the reconstruction (believe it or not a bulldozer kinda can kill it)

we have a few areas where it is making a come back but we won't harvest any of it until it gets its feet well in the ground again..9 years since our fire it is just now coming back so it is taking a while..we only have maybe a half dozen plants or more in 2 places.

it can be extremely invasive so people should be very careful where they put it...if they put it..it should take a lot of thought as it is quite nasty in  the wrong place

it is also a huge bee plant..the flowers are so prolific and the bees love them.

i am happy to have it return but we will have to watch it carefully so it doesn't take over..we loved it when it was growing here before
 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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Yea thats the thing I knew I was forgetting Brenda! Its like a super dooper bee plant that tastes just like buckwheat. Good thing to make monofloral honey with.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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According to wikipedia, its rhizomes can be nearly 10 feet (3 meters) deep! I could envision planting the stuff in a dry, compacted soil and then cutting most fo the plants for mulch just before flowering.
 
Aaron Wallace
Posts: 16
Location: Wilmington, Delaware, Eastern Piedmont, USDA 7a
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Yeah the plant can be a real nightmare to remove, the rizhomes grow tubers that if you chop will resprout readily from pinky sized chunks.  Chop and dropping the foliage from two seasons has slowed down the reemergence but birds are constantly redistributing seeds as well so deeply dug vegetable beds while laking tuber sprouts do get a considerable number of fresh plants every year. I dont know how quickly it goes to seed but I am thinking 90 to 100 days from emergence? Its a pretty serious nuisance plant in Delaware. It loves utility right of ways, train tracks, something fierce.
 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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I met a young permie farmer named Sean at the northeast permie convergence that says something like "Some people think jerusalem artichoke, black locust and comfrey are invasive, even dangerous. I like using these plants because they are just good at being plants."

This guy takes beat up parts of his property and bioremediates them with a black locust/ jerusalem artichoke based polyculture, which are both enormously immensely useful plants that have amazing yields in basically dirt. "They are just plants that are super good at being plants!"

Japanese knotweed is just a plant good at being a plant. I can imagine it being used to restore beat up land somehow..  perhaps if patches of knotweed are cut right after flowering to feed nectar to all those beneficials, it can be controlled.
 
Kirk Hutchison
Posts: 418
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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That's exactly how I feel!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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when we first moved here i loved to buy  things that said "invasive" in their descriptions..we had a lot of land that was damaged and needed to be improved..but the knotweed was already here..

I too am putting the JA's all over my property, along fencerows, near the woods edges, etc since I discovered that the deer love the green part in winter..and we have a lot of deer starve out from nothing to eat, they ate the green parts down to the snow level here last year.

I'm also fond of other invasives like russian and autumn olives, which are just now loaded with green berries..honeysuckle bushes, dogwood, etc for the birds and bears..i guess the deer eat some of them too..maybe that is why I have very little deer damage or bear damage, cause I plant things they love..another plant they love is Malva (checker mallow)..I plant it along the roadways, fencerows and near the woods..they totally love it.
 
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