Bamboo – the quiet threat

is literally growing in private gardens across the country.  We are writing as a warning of the invasive spread of running bamboo.  Sadly, very popular in gardens and easily purchased online and in garden centres throughout the UK.

This plant can be as destructive as the more infamous Japanese Knotweed even though it is still regarded as an ornamental plant being sold to unaware gardeners.  The Bamboo plant is not yet classed as an invasive species in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and there are currently no restrictions on planting it. However, it is possible to be held negligent as a homeowner if you deliberately introduce this plant in your garden and allow the spread of roots and stems to damage neighbouring properties. 


You may also be liable if you purchase a home where bamboo is present and do not ensure that the plant growth is under control.  The potential costs may be considerable if the damage is not discovered for some time and the spread of the plant has caused cracks in the boundaries, foundations and walls of properties.[1]

A simple rule to follow is to avoid purchasing ‘running’ varieties of bamboo which have root systems that can reach many metres in length.  If you are keen to have this plant opt for a ‘clumping’ variety such as  Bambusa or Chusquea which can also cause damage if left unchecked but safe if planted in containers and not directly into a border/garden.  There is no dispute that this is a very attractive plant and is a welcome addition to many gardens but you have to consider is it worth the risk of substantial costs for property damage and neighbour disputes.  Our advice is to purchase wisely or steer clear.

If your neighbours have this plant it may be worthwhile to check on the location and whether the root system has begun to spread and take steps to protect your property from any damage before it is too late.