I'm a gardening expert – the nine illegal plants to watch out for in your garden to avoid a £34,000 fine | The Sun

A GARDENING expert has revealed the nine illegal plants to look out for in your garden, to avoid a fine of up to a staggering £34,000.

Most people know of the dangers of Japanese knotweed, which has over 50,000 infestations spreading across the UK, but there are also a host of other illegal plants to be aware of – many of which people don't know how to spot.

So the pros over at Power Sheds have detailed the top criminal plants that can grow in gardens, as well as the hefty fines you could be landed with for having them.

“Once you can identify the most common criminal plants, it’s important to prevent them from spreading as soon as possible," Power Sheds' co-founder Jack Sutcliffe said.

"The easiest way to do this is by spraying them with chemicals, digging them out or burning them.”  

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed is one of the world's most invasive plants, and is incredibly difficult to get rid of once it's established.

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Because of this, it's important to spot it early, so you can get rid of it quickly.

The plant has bamboo-like stems and clusters of small white flowers, so look out for those.

You'll also need to get professional help to remove it, as even a tiny bit of stem left in the ground can regrow.

And if you're selling a property, make sure you have it surveyed by an RICS surveyor, which will help protect you from any legal action from buyers if knotweed is later discovered on the property.  

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Homeowners can be fined anything up to £34,000 if Japanese Knotweed is found in their garden.

But a recent lawsuit against a seller whose property had the plant came to an incredible £200,000.

Spear Thistle

Considered a noxious weed, the spear thistle has spiky leaves and purple flowers.

It can spread quickly and often harms crops and other vegetation.

Fines can top £2,500 if it's found in your garden.

Common Ragwort

One of the most easily recognisable plants on the list, the common ragwort has bright yellow flowers and feathery leaves.

It's a common weed but is toxic to livestock, so fines for growing it can go up to £5,000.

Broad-Leaved Dock

Like the spear thistle, the broad-leaved dock harms crops and vegetation.

It's got broad leaves and spikes of small yellow flowers, and isn't sensitive to weather conditions – meaning it spreads incredibly easily.

If they are found in your garden, you can be fined £2,500. 

Curled Dock

The curled dock is another noxious weed and and has distinctive curly leaves, as well as spikes of small yellow flowers.

Fines of up to £2,500 can be given for allowing it to grow on your property. 

Rhododendron Ponticum

The Rhododendron Ponticum is another invasive plant on the list and even competes with other plants for a little bit of sunlight.

It has evergreen leaves and large clusters of pink or purple flowers, and is poisonous to vegetation and wildlife.

It is difficult to eradicate once established, making it even more important to avoid growing it, otherwise you could face a £5,000 fine. 

Himalayan Balsam 

Perhaps the prettiest plant on the list, the Himalayan Balsam is also one of the quickest to spread.

Each plant has around 800 seeds that are easily transported by wind, animals, or water, and will grow again.

Fines for this one, which has spikes of pink or purple flowers, can go up to £2,500.

Giant Hogweed

This toxic plant, recognisable by their large white flowers and towering height, is harmful to humans, and can cause significant wounds to the skin.

That's why it's considered illegal, and the fines can reach £5,000.

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New Zealand Pigmyweed 

The New Zealand Pigmyweed is an invasive plant, with small green leaves and clusters of tiny white flowers, and poses a threat to everything around her.

Sales of the seed have been banned since 2014 and if found to have it in your garden, you could face a fine of up to £2,500. 

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