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2023 predictions
By Jennifer Holmes

2023 predictions

What will 2023 bring for invasive weed control?

Firstly we wish a warm welcome to 2023 to all our customers and clients across the UK – old and new! In this blog we share some of our predictions for the year and our promises to you. We will continue to evolve new ways to control problematic invasive species, and remove contaminated ground, with service delivery as our priority focus.

But first let’s look at the challenges ahead…

Evolving species

Invasive weeds provide good models for demonstrating necessary evolution that our ever-changing climate will create. Invasive species can change rapidly to ensure their existence, their unique evolutionary mechanisms are integral to their success in this. If you read our blogs on climate change, you’ll see how species adaptation both protects and alters nature’s biodiversity, and none more so than those non-native to our country. With evolution must come change – and we’ll face these challenges head on.

This winter as we marched towards 2023 proved challenging to our teams in the field, but they carried on relentlessly. These dramatic weather shifts the UK recently experienced will be more frequent, with unseasonably hotter, wetter, and colder extremes becoming the norm. Some species will adapt to these changes more quickly than we can – so we will change our species control methodologies where required to ensure optimum efficacy. In 2023 we have our eye on some species that will become more prevalent as ‘invasive’ and therefore more problematic for individuals and commercial businesses.

Our hit list

We’ve been treating and eradicating Bamboo, Rhododendron and Giant hogweed for over a decade now but we’re seeing a growing trend of these three culprits across certain areas of the country. Bamboo is not just a gardener’s nightmare – its capacity to spread underground causes issues for neighbouring commercial landowners (and businesses) too and has given rise to it being labelled ‘The New Knotweed’. Bamboo is definitely NOT TO BE INGNORED! But with the right treatment, given at the right time in its growth cycle Bamboo can be controlled, or completely removed. Sadly, with more recent emphasis in the news and in publication features given to the problems Bamboo can cause we predict homeowners may choose the DIY option. But treatment must be carried out by professionals, as, just like knotweed, any small fragment left in the ground will give Bamboo the chance to re-grow new plants – and it is relentless in doing so! Bamboo on commercial property or land is equally as problematic and we urge any business with a suspected infestation to arrange a survey before Bamboo becomes established.

Rhododendron ponticum is becoming more of a nuisance for landowners and forestry commissions as it literally creates a jungle that out competes native tree species. We have a range of techniques to control Rhododendron ponticum that we’re certain will be out in force in the coming months as Winter is the best time for it to be tackled. If you have a problem with Rhododendron now is the time to get in touch.

Giant hogweed is one of those plants that looks impressive – but has a long-term sting! It commonly grows in areas frequented by the public, such as footpaths and canals, although open ground or brownfield sites are also places where hogweed likes to flourish. But handled incorrectly the sap can cause serious burns and blisters that are long-lasting, with skin outbreaks occurring for several years when exposed to the sun. We are seeing an increase in the demand for information on toxic weeds, and we will continue to raise awareness of this species in 2023. As advocates of environmental and public safety we provide informational talks and CPD style training to businesses such as environmental surveyors and construction companies, to keep their staff safe. Simply learning how to identify harmful species throughout their lifecycle and knowing to call in the professionals instead of tackling it themselves has already kept people safe.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US…

Integrated Weed Management (IWM)

At Environment Controls we have specialist in-house experts constantly reviewing Integrated Weed Management (IWM) which provides better options for you whilst protecting both the environment and public safety. This is particularly important in Amenity weed management and our new IWM consultancy service will help local authorities to plan their 2023 public highways strategy. We’ll be recommending (where suitable) wildflower meadow verges to reduce mowing cycles, as well as looking at land rejuvenation to make good areas that have been excavated.

The Glyphosate debate will no doubt continue well into 2023. There’s been a lot of noise in the press around the use of this product for weed control, but we firmly believe that it is the optimum chemical for providing a long-term solution. But it’s through adopting IWM as part of our process that makes a real difference. IWM means we’ll use several methods as well as herbicide spraying, so less chemical is used but in a more targeted way.

More services

With the launch of our sister brand now firmly seated into the business you’ll see more services and more species under our control in 2023, including Oak Processionary Moth and Signal Crayfish. Our methods of control will evolve into new areas too. We’re already looking at different or alternative methods that we can use on water and on land.

We’re providing services that are ideal for winter, such as restoring or erecting estate fencing, tree planting, ditch maintenance and vegetation clearance. If you manage or own land or commercial estates speak to us about how we can help you get your estate in peak condition ready for the Spring.

Collaborative partnerships

Last year we formed some important collaborative business partnerships to provide recommended associated services to you. Most notably our connection with Fortus who provide specialist consultation services for those seeking to apply for Land Remediation Relief (LRR). This vital tax relief is available to hundreds of land owners and developers across the UK.

Our No.1 priority

Customer service is king in any business and we’re extremely proud to have smashed our target of 1,000 5* Trustpilot reviews in 2022. Reading these reviews brings a great sense of pride, but we will not stand still or allow complacency to set in. With new communications and project management systems in place we will continue to provide a positive customer experience, because you are our number one priority.

We have the right people, experience and equipment as well as best practice policies and credentials in place – 2023 bring it on!

We look forward to the year ahead, and wish you all a very Happy New Year!