Home » Bamboo garden warning: UK gardeners warned over plant as dangerous as Japanese knotweed

Bamboo garden warning: UK gardeners warned over plant as dangerous as Japanese knotweed

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While bamboo is a narrow plant, which appears not to take up too much room. However, it is strong and its roots system can grow to be huge, even spanning 30ft.

Bamboo is so strong it can grow through houses, bursting through walls and floors, as pictures have shown.

This can cost lots and lots of money to remove from a property, so gardeners should think twice before planting the Asian plant.

A company, Environet, has warned about the plant.

Nic Seal, Founder and MD of Environet, said: “It’s time for garden centres and plant nurseries to take some responsibility for the escalating problem being faced by gardeners up and down the country who have bought bamboo in good faith with no warning of the risks.

“The fact is that most bamboos are invasive – and I expect they would be a good deal less popular if gardeners were given the facts at the point of sale.

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“We’re regularly dealing with entire gardens that are a mass of bamboo rhizome, where homeowners have desperately tried to keep on top of the problem by cutting back or mowing new shoots as they emerge.

“But once it’s on the run, the only way to deal with it properly is to excavate the root ball and dig out every lateral rhizome, which often means chasing them across boundaries into neighbouring gardens.

“I’ve even seen bamboo growing up between the skirting board and wall of a house, having encroached beneath the patio from next door’s garden and exploited a weakness in the property’s foundations.”

Running bamboo is the riskiest type to plant in your garden.

The “running” relates to the growth of the roots.

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Running roots stretch far and long, causing the problem as bamboo can run unchecked across the property underground later needing extensive work to remove it.

However, clumping bamboo is safer and easier to maintain as the plants grow in manageable clumps.

When bamboo goes bad

Having lived in Asia for many years, Kate Saunders was keen to recreate a tropical garden at her home in Wandsworth, South West London. She had some concerns about planting bamboo as she had heard it could spread, but her gardener reassured her that it could be contained by planting it in a lined trench.

However, after a number of years, the bamboo escaped, with new shoots appearing in distant parts of the garden and on the other side of the fence in her neighbour’s lawn.

“After they complained, the bamboo was fully excavated from both properties.

Kate said, “We thought the garden designers had taken precautions to contain the bamboo in a trench but unfortunately it didn’t work. I wanted to create an exotic haven in my garden and it did look lovely, but the bamboo ended up being an expensive mistake.

“I’d advise anyone considering planting bamboo to think twice and only plant it in pots or containers above-ground – and be prepared to do a lot of maintenance to control it.”

How to prevent bamboo from spreading

Choose a clumping variety such as Bambusa or Chusquea.

· Always plant bamboo in a container or strong pot – never directly into the ground.

· Use a strong vertical root barrier to line the container, which is designed to contain bamboo.

· Prune bamboo hard and regularly, at least every spring, to keep it in check.

· It is possible to treat a bamboo infestation using the energy depletion method, which involves cutting the canes to ground level before new leaf appears and repeating the process annually in order to deplete the energy reserves in the root system – but it can take several years.

· Bamboo can be professionally excavated in a matter of days with root barriers put in place in cases where customers wish to retain some of the plants.

Japanese Knotweed can devalue your home by as much as 15 percent. 

That would amount to a drop of almost £38,000 in the average price of a home.



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