YouGov survey shows lack of awareness of invasive bamboo

We wanted to find out how much the great British public know about the invasive nature of bamboo, so we carried out a consumer survey with YouGov asking a series of questions about whether people would plant bamboo and what they understand about its ability to spread.

The results confirmed our belief that most people simply don’t realise the damage bamboo can cause to property. Just one in ten (9%) people in the UK would avoid planting it in the garden because of the threat it poses to homes and other buildings – despite the fact it can actually cause more harm than Japanese knotweed because of the greater distances its lateral roots can spread.

Fewer than a third (29%) of those surveyed indicated they would avoid planting bamboo because of its invasive nature, suggesting most people are blissfully unaware of the risks.

Readily available in garden centres and plant nurseries, bamboo can spread more than 30ft from the root ball beneath the ground, yet only 9% of people are aware of this. When left unchecked, ‘running’ varieties of the plant send out long lateral shoots which emerge in new locations such as lawns, patios, sheds and have even been known to grow through floors into homes. They commonly cross property boundaries, causing legal disputes between neighbours. Just like knotweed, bamboo is capable of pushing through asphalt, brickwork, drains and cracks in concrete and is difficult to treat without professional help.

Despite this, most people with gardens would still consider planting bamboo, with the main reasons being that they believe it to be beautiful/attractive (26%), low maintenance (24%) and good for creating privacy where a garden is overlooked (21%).

While problematic plants should come with a warning, there is a serious lack of advice and guidance offered by garden centres and nurseries, with only one quarter (25%) of people who have bought bamboo reporting that they were given any professional advice about it at the same time.

Nic Seal, Founder and MD of Environet, said: “This research shows there is very little knowledge among the general public about the true nature of this problem plant. Bamboo may look beautiful but people should be very careful to avoid running types and take precautions when planting any bamboo, such as ensuring they’re using specialist root barriers.

“Awareness of the invasive nature of Japanese knotweed has grown significantly in recent years but the biggest worry is that people are still buying and planting bamboo in gardens across the UK, completely oblivious to the risks.”

If you have bamboo in your garden and are concerned about it spreading, contact us today to arrange a survey.

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