Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that can cause substantial damage in and around your property if it’s not dealt with quickly and effectively.

The Express recently explained that the plant is “highly destructive” and can cause damage to paving, roads and even buildings.

But what is it and how can you spot it in your garden early? It has an extensive root system and it grows quickly, which is why it can cause so much damage. It can grow up to seven metres horizontally underground, and up to two metres deep. The experts at gardeningexpress.co.uk offered some advice about how to identify it.

Chris Bonnet from the company explained that it has heart-shaped leaves and flowers in summer or early autumn, producing creamy white blooms. Another tell-tale sign to look out for are red shoots resembling asparagus.

These shoots typically appear in the spring and are a good indication that you’ll need some help to get rid of the destructive plant.

Mr Bonnet commented: “Japanese knotweed is so invasive that it can grow by a metre a month and can cause damage to your home – but the trouble is it can very easily be mistaken for a shrub by a novice gardener.”

If you suspect that you have Japanese knotweed in your garden, it’s important to get assistance from someone with experience of gardening in Lancashire, otherwise it will be very difficult to control and remove the weeds.

Given that Bolton in Lancashire has been named as the worst place in the UK for Japanese knotweed, it pays to be on the lookout for this particular plant in your garden – or in the garden of any property you’re considering buying.

Research from Environet estimates that four to five per cent of properties in the country are affected by Japanese knotweed, with an infestation of the plant reducing the value of a home by around ten per cent, PropertyWire reported.