Now that we are out to tender for the control of invasive weeds in 2012, I thought it would be worth making readers aware of the areas we will be targeting in the months ahead.There are two reasons for this, firstly to let people know when to expect the contractors to be on site dealing with problem plants and secondly to ensure that the volunteer sprayers that ART has trained don’t step in and start controlling plants before the professionals arrive.
Contractors will commence control at the start of April moving systematically throughout all catchments spraying all Giant Hogweed plants that will flower in 2012. The contractors will cover all affected watercourse in Ayrshire (that we know of). Spraying of Giant Hogweed should be complete by the end of June (weather permitting). The Rivers Ayr, Irvine, Annick, Garnock and all affected tributaries will be sprayed. So too will the Coastal Burns including the Pow, Slaphouse, Ladykirk, Sandyford and Hogston Burn at Culzean.
Spraying and injection of Japanese Knotweed will commence only once the plant is in flower as this greatly improves the long term results. Plants only flower during late August and September so contractors will be starting then and working until they have used up their allocated days. The River Irvine downstream of Riccarton Bridge will be sprayed systematically working in a downstream direction. We expect the contractors should reach Laigh Milton Mill area in their allotted time. The Fenwick, Craufurdland and Kilmarnock Waters will again be targeted for the second successive year. The Upper Irvine will also be sprayed under the same contract and again this will be in September. Else where, the Upper Ayr and Lugar will be treated using stem injection as will the Upper Girvan all from mid August to the end of September.
The River Doon has been treated during September since 2010. This has reduced Japanese Knotweed to only a handful of recurring stems but these will again be targeted during 2012. Costs for chemical and labour have dropped considerably over two years so we know this strategy works and works well!
We understand the frustrations that having large stands of Knotweed on your banksides causes, but don’t be tempted to cut stands down before they are treated. This only stops us being able to control the plants effectively, increases the problem and makes you responsible for disposing of a controlled waste. Spraying earlier in the year is not something that we recommend and doesn’t achieve the same results as later in the season. If you follow our advice, 2 years from now your problems will be hugely reduced and easily managed. Anyone interested in undergoing spraying training should let us know so that we can book you onto a course. Having an army of trained volunteers will be the way that these weeds are kept in check once the funding runs out in 2014. Remember, before any spraying goes on near a water course you must apply for a SEARS licence. This is a legal requirement. ART staff are willing to apply for licences for any of the volunteers that we trained, on request.