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My neighbor has Bamboo plants that have spread rapidly. I am worried they are coming my way. What can be done?

Answer

My neighbor has Bamboo plants that have spread rapidly. I am worried they are coming my way. What can be done? There are two types of Bamboo, running and clumping and either is serious trouble. Bamboo spreads by underground tentacle-like Rhizomes which can grow 15 feet a year or more. You won't know they are there until the stalks known as "clums" pop up through the surface. These stalks can get 40ft high and can push through sidewalks, asphalt driveways, walkways and get behind the siding of a house and rip it off. Clumping bamboo is big trouble too, because although it doesn't spread as rapidly as running, the clumps grow significantly each year and cause great damage. Eradication has to be done with heavy equipment and the bamboo rhizomes gently removed. Broken off pieces left in the soil will grow back. You must dispose of the bamboo by burning. Even after complete removal, you must be vigilant for years for new sprouts. Bamboo control is possible but requires a 2ft+ deep, thick high density polyethylene barrier. Even with a barrier in place, it must be monitored for Rhizomes that might grow over (or under) it. Cutting off the clums that come through the soil surface is ineffective.

Over the past two years in Connecticut and many other states, property owners with heavy infestations, mostly planted by neighbors have launched campaigns to bring the issue forward the attention of state and local government. This year, the state's invasive plant council will recommend the state legislature pass a law requiring how bamboo is planted with potential penalties if not followed when it is within 100 feet of a neighbor's property or public land.

Recently the Town of Bozrah adopted an ordinance that restricts bamboo plantings to aboveground containers or to below ground containment structures. The ordinance also prevents bamboo plantings within 40 feet of a neighbor or public highway. The ordinance does not grandfather existing plantings and it includes both running and clumping varieties. Violators who don't remove the bamboo themselves could be fined and required to reimburse the town if the town does the work.

I strongly recommend: 1) that you stay away from ALL TYPES of BAMBOO, because I don't trust any of them and 2) if you need either complete removal of Bamboo or installation of containment barriers, call us we have done both.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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