16 July 2013
The Environment Department is asking the public to use a free mobile phone app to help determine the distribution of the invasive plant Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) in Jersey.
PlantTracker, a free app developed by the UK Environment Agency and the University of Bristol, allows Islanders to record and submit geo-located photos of suspect plants directly to the Department of the Environment. These images would then be verified using the photo or a site visit, and subsequent positive records could be plotted on a map.
The Department is asking Islanders to download the PlantTracker app at no charge from the iTunes App Store or Google Play and begin using it as soon as possible. While PlantTracker features 14 invasive plant species, the Department is asking Jersey users to restrict their recordings to Knotweed. Guidance on identifying knotweed and on how to submit pictures is included in the app.
The Environment Department’s head of plant health, Scott Meadows, said “This is the first time we have asked the general public to use mobile phone technology to gather survey data. The data could help us assess the full extent of the distribution of knotweed in Jersey, which would then enable us to effectively focus our efforts to combat this invasive plant.”
Avoid spreading knotweed
The Department is also issuing a general reminder to the public that knotweed spreads via its roots and from fragments of the plant, so strimming or flailing only increases the problem. Cutting, hand-pulling and herbicides are the most effective methods of eradication.
Foliage and contaminated soil is unsuitable for composting because the plant and seeds may not be destroyed by the heat generated by the composting process. Small loads can be disposed of in the burnable skip at the household garden / green waste gate at Bellozanne. Large loads can be taken to the Energy from Waste Plant at La Collette, by contacting the Transport and Technical Services department on tel: 445509.