The Japanese knotweed has grown 30-40 cm in the past week and the site is well on its way to being overwhelmed, just as it has been during the summer months over the past 50 years. This year there is a difference, as ironically healthy growing plants are exactly what we want to optimise the impact of herbicide treatment in late summer / early autumn. Big broad leaves and healthy stems will allow the maximum transmission of herbicide into the underground rhizomes thus weakening the plant, and reducing growth next year.
Previous work to clear vegetation started on 29th March with a group of students from the Trinity St. David campus of the University of Wales coming over for a combination of study and clearance work - we very much appreciate their involvement and are confident that whilst helping with the clearance they will gain valuable knowledge for their studies.
The next activity was on 13th April when a team from Cyfle Cymru came to help - the involvement of volunteers from this very-special local charity is greatly appreciated. Clearing overgrown and dead vegetation is an important step in preparing for knotweed treatment later in the year as our partner Knotweed Control Swansea will need access to all of the weed in order to spray and inject herbicide, and we have until mid-May (when the knotweed will start to re-grow) to complete the clearance.
We had a great weekend, starting with the community meeting at the Gorse Mission on Friday evening when plans for the graveyard were discussed, and then on Saturday when volunteers came along for a combination of rubbish picking, vegetation clearance and initial work on the retaining wall. Several people also took the opportunity to find the graves of their ancestors.
Thanks to everyone who attended either event and there will be opportunities for those who could not attend to get involved in the future.
In addition to preparing for knotweed clearance we have also assessed what work is required to the retaining wall along Carmarthen Road. Feedback from construction professionals is that this is a well-built wall and structural-sound, but work is required to repair the top where it has been damaged by Japanese knotweed. This work will start within weeks. We are looking at options for re-installing a railing along the top of the wall to prevent accidents. Finally, we have been working on a map of the graveyard to allow people with ancestors buried there to identify the location of their graves. The map is now 95% finished and probably 90% accurate…which is about as good as it will get until access can be gained to all graves. The map and catalogue can now be downloaded from this website - go to the "Grave Map" section and comments on the accuracy are welcome.
We have retained a master stone-mason to carry out repairs and work is underway to re-point the wall using lime mortar. Next steps will be to repairs the wall's coping stones but herbicide treatment of the Japanese knotweed that has grown through the wall is required to ensure the repairs are sustainable.