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UK to use biological control for Japanese knotweed

The UK government has approved the use of the non-native psyllid, Aphalara itadori, to help control the highly invasive, non-native, Japanese knotweed ( Fallopia japonica). The move follows a public consultation last year ( Agrow No 576, p 13). The weed causes damage worth some £150 million ($225 million) every year. In 2003, the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) estimated the cost of controlling the weed at £1,560 million ($2,344 million at the current rate - Agrow No 544, p 14). The psyllid is a predator of the weed in Japan and has been tested in the UK on over 90 types of plants, focusing on closely related native species as well as important crops and ornamentals, to ensure it does not attack other plants. The Welsh Assembly government is working with the DEFRA to pilot the solution at various sites in Wales and England.

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