Meet the dog-tective who's on a mission to root out Japanese knotweed

  • ITV Meridian's Mel Bloor has been to meet Mack the Japenese knotweed detection dog

Surrey-based invasive plant specialists, Environet, has a new weapon in the fight against Japanese knotweed.

His name is Mack and he's a Labrador Retriever.

The specially trained sniffer dog is able to seek out the country's most invasive plant, even if it is beneath the ground.

If Mack detects knotweed, he freezes to alert the experts.

  • WATCH: Mack in action

Founder and Managing Director of Environet, Nic Seal, said: "The dogs have got the most amazing sense of smell and they can pick up the scent that Japanese knotweed rhizome gives off into the soil.

"They're amazing animals and a great tool for someone who isn't too sure whether their property is affected by knotweed or not."

A new heatmap, produced by the team at Environet, reveals Reading and Newbury are knotweed hotspots.

If not detected and dealt with, the plant can cause a number of serious problems.

The heatmap charts Japanese knotweed sightings across the UK Credit: Environet

Japanese knotweed is a non-native, invasive plant that was imported to the UK in Victorian times.

It is now widely recognised as a pest species that can wipe out all competing plants.

The plant spreads quickly and and is difficult to control.

It can grow up through cracks in concrete, driveways and even cavity walls.

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