Sniffing out Japanese knotweed

After discovering Japanese knotweed, a prevalent invasive plant species in the UK, on our M25 J10/A3 Wisley Interchange project, we enlisted the expert assistance of specialist dogs and their handlers to help detect further instances of Japanese knotweed. 

Fenix, a Dutch Shepherd, and Nica, a Springer Spaniel are specially trained to locate rhizomes, the plant stem of Japanese knotweed at soil level or underground.  

Using their expertise, we accurately pinpointed various locations along the A3 northbound verge where Japanese knotweed was present. We then excavated the affected areas, avoiding unnecessary costs or delays to our programme and ensuring the invasive species could not spread further.  

As Japanese knotweed can remain dormant for up to 20 years, without the assistance of the specialist dogs, the presence of this plant would have likely gone undetected and led to ecological damage in the future.