Invasive bamboo causing headaches for homeowners

We issued a warning this week about the invasive nature of bamboo, which is taking over British gardens and increasingly causing disputes between neighbours, as covered in the Daily Mail.

Bamboo is popular because it’s easy to grow, hardy and tolerates most soil types. It’s particularly useful in urban gardens for providing screening and privacy where outdoor spaces may be overlooked. But many people don’t realise that most species of bamboo are invasive if left unchecked, particularly the running varieties which have long lateral roots that can spread up to 30ft underground – and should be avoided at all costs.

Our client Angela Francis, who lives in Earley near Reading, was mis-sold a species of bamboo by her local nursery when she planted an ornamental garden a few years ago, as reported by the Reading Chronicle. Despite being reassured that it wouldn’t spread or grow more than a metre high, new shoots appeared in several new locations in Angela’s garden. It also spread beneath her patio and was heading towards the house when she asked Environet to remove it for her last week.

Angela said: “Bamboo can look lovely but I would urge people to be very careful as most types are invasive and it could turn out to be a costly mistake.”

Due to the extraordinary distance the roots can travel, running bamboo has the potential to be even more damaging to property than Japanese knotweed and has similar abilities to push through brickwork, drains, cavity walls, patios and exploit cracks or weaknesses in concrete. We saw one case recently in Hampshire where bamboo had encroached from a neighbour’s garden and exploited a weakness in the property’s foundations to sprout up between the skirting board and the wall in the living room!

Though less invasive, even clumping varieties can spread if left unchecked. Ideally all bamboo should be planted in a solid container with a root barrier that is specifically designed to contain it.

It’s virtually impossible to kill bamboo with herbicide, so if it’s growing out of control in your garden contact us today because it will almost certainly need to be excavated.

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