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5 Reasons Not to Plant Bamboo in Your Yard

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5 Reasons Not to Plant Bamboo in Your Yard

By Steve Graham, Networx

Bamboo is a trendy star of the eco-friendly construction movement, with a wide variety of flooring, furniture and other items being manufactured with the strong, fast-growing grass. However, bamboo production should be left to commercial growers. Bamboo’s hardiness and rapid growth make it a problematic plant for most yards. Here are the top five reasons not to plant bamboo in your garden.

1. Bamboo can spread into neighboring yards.

Many homeowners plant bamboo to create a fast-growing privacy screen around their home. Ted Jordan Meredith, author of Bamboo for Gardens, notes that some bamboo species can grow more than three feet per day. Bamboo can spread as quickly as it grows, and it doesn’t respect fences or property lines.

Bamboo grows particularly vigorously when adjacent to irrigated lawns and gardens or in low-lying areas that collect water. Instead of just blocking the view of nosy neighbors, you could be turning your property line into a war zone by planting bamboo.

Some bamboo species may even be categorized as noxious weeds, meaning a neighbor could legally force you to remove your bamboo. You could also be liable for the cost of any damage to the neighbors’ property caused by your bamboo, and for the cost of removal from their property.

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9:11AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

I agree with Scott D. there are many good compact clumping types of bamboo that are much like agave and aloe vera, their new shoots stay very near the mother plant. Also many environments here in the U. S. aren't as favorable to the running types as in their homeland.

3:01PM PST on Feb 8, 2012


2:55PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

We wanted to block out the new home built in the vacant block behind us. We choose a native clumbing bamboo from our local nursery. Knowing it could spread where we didn't want it we put it in a concrete surrounded garden bed.
As my partner was a builder he was able to dig and build a retaining wall 5 foot deep,1/2 foot high above ground and 10inchs wide.
The garden bed is in an area that rarely gets mowed due too competion from other large trees. This was 15yrs ago and it has been a high maintenace job once the bamboo established. No it did not need watering or fertilizer but the roots climb over the concrete which require regular checking and chopping at least once a week in peak growning times. The old dead bamboo stems have to be chopped out the mulch level needs to be kept down to help prevent roots climbing out.
A clump started to grow outside of the garden bed last year, so we dug down and followed the root and came up against the concrete wall to find that over time a root had managed to drill its way through the concrete about 2 foot underground. As of yet we haven't dug around the whole retaining wall to see if anymore are drilling out but the chance are they are. So concrete is not a full proof way of containing bamboo forever.
Yes, the bamboo did quickly do the job of screening the neighbours view to our backyard and it is very pretty to look at but if I knew what I know now I would chose something else that requires a little less work.

2:34PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thank you.

10:58AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

My mother in law was thinking about putting in Bamboo before she died. Glad she didn't. I don't have her energy to keep up with the gardening.

9:05AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Good info, thank you..

1:14AM PST on Jan 22, 2012


4:08PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

thnxs. :)

5:16AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Thank you Scott from

6:06PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Well, the great Buddha said that ignorance is one of the great poisons of the mind. This article is filled with misconceptions about bamboo, and you are showing how great your ignorance is about bamboos, sadly.

The main error in your thinking is that there are two main types of bamboos: running and non-running. None of the non-running types is invasive, as you use the term here. They are clumping. There are many clumping bamboos available, and many nurseries have them.

As for the running types of bamboos, they are not invasive in the sense that you are using them. Bamboos rarely flower, and when they do most types die off. Some flower only once evey 100 years. Thus they do not present an invasive threat that say, Scotch Broom or Himalayan blackberries do. Those two species have spread all over the western US, and cover thousands of square miles of land area. In contrast, there are few (if any) truely invasive stands of bamboos in the entire western US. They simply do not compare to most invasive plant species, and in most states bamboos are not considered invasives. Can a runner bamboo escape and invade the neighbor's yard? Maybe, but that can be prevented if they are planted right. Also beyond a local area, they are not going to spread very far.

As far as getting rid of bamboo, that is easy. Just run an ad on Craigslist saying, "Free bamboo to anyone that wants to come and dig it up". I gurantee you they will be gone in a few weeks.


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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