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Should we be worried about this bamboo?

We’ve just moved to a new house and noticed what looks like bamboo in the neighbour’s garden directly the other side of our fence. It's about 8ft high along a 10ft section of the fence.

There was also a 4ft tall cane growing in our garden a few feet away from the fence. I dug it up and followed the root back to the fence, then dug along either side and found another 5 or 6 roots have come under. There might be more. At least one of these roots has travelled 6ft across our lawn and had shoots coming up from it. We’ve dug this up now, which looks messy but it’s not a major issue as we want to dig all that section up at some point. Our whole garden is 20ft by 40ft so we imagine if left unchecked it could become a problem.

It would really helpful to know what action people would recommend:

  • Find all the roots, cut them back and then just keep an eye on it?
  • Dig a trench along the fence and install a barrier on our side?
  • Speak to the neighbours and ask if they can get rid of the whole thing? We don’t know if there’s a container/barrier their side but obviously it doesn’t look like there’s anything stopping it getting under the fence

We haven’t met the neighbours yet. They might be new to the area too so we don’t know if they planted it and don’t want to cause a dispute or ask them to do anything unnecessarily. But if it’s something we should both try and get under control asap we’d like to know before we chat to them about it.

Can you tell from the pic if this definitely is bamboo and what type it is? As you can see it’s not that thick. The close up is from the 4ft cane in our garden but the more mature one’s are similar. The canes don’t have ridges, which from a search suggests it’s non-invasive clumping rather than running, but if it’s found it’s way across our garden that suggests it is running? 

We don’t know anything about bamboo so any help or advice would be appreciated, thank you.



  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,806
    The clumping thing is a bit of a myth. Some will run straight away, others will clump for a while but if they're happy will eventually run. I have no personal experience of bamboo, but based on general advice and discussions with more experienced professionals, I think I would try to install a good barrier. However, before doing so I would talk to the neighbours - they might be planning to / willing to remove it, and you would then have wasted your efforts on the barrier.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,150
    Clumping bamboos don't run, but they can form very big clumps when happy, which is slightly different.
    I'd ask the neighbours first before going to any great expense and effort. It's a thankless task keeping bamboo out of a garden. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • SydRoySydRoy Posts: 146
    edited 17 October
    I'm tempted to say its a mature Fargesia. In theory, a clump forming plant. To be honest I think if was going to "run" it probably would have by now. 
    I have Fargesia Rufa in my garden - and one year it did "run" (when convention says it shouldn't) but I cut back the rooted runners and it hasn't since.
    I think you'll be ok.

    Edit - Apologies, I didn't read your post properly - it clearly has "run" to an extent.
    Could still be a clump former though. 
    For now perhaps just dig back all the shoots and see what happens.
    I think a vigourous "runner" would have produced more shoots. 
    Having said that if you're digging up the section of the garden a barrier isn't to big a task to install.

    I have bramble & ivy popping up from next door to me on one side and aqulegia by the bucket load from the other - it can be a pain - in fact the aqulegia is a bigger issue than than the bramble/ivy combo. I don't why anyone grows the bl++dy things? - although they probably feel the same about my bamboo?
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,697
    edited 17 October
    Well it’s definitely bamboo and clearly a running type. I would introduce yourself and have a friendly chat to the neighbours first too, explain you have it popping up in your lawn and ask if them if they have the same problem - treat it as a problem shared that you can hopefully resolve together (perhaps you could contribute to the cost of a root barrier) rather than ‘your bamboo is a menace, get rid of it’ which will instantly get their backs up. As you say, it may not have been planted by them or even if it has, they may not have understood the nature of the beast. Running types are a menace in domestic gardens and really should be banned, but unfortunately they are not. I inherited a stand of the running stuff and although it’s in a remote area not affecting my garden beds or lawn, it’s still a constant chore to have to keep cutting it back. If, despite your friendly approach, they are aggressive or uncooperative, then it becomes a choice whether to start a feud or grit your teeth and install a barrier all at your own expense on your side of the fence. Feuds are never a good idea, you and they could be there for many years and you have to declare any disputes when you do sell.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,423
    It is clearly a type of bamboo which is actively throwing out runners.  To stop it getting into your garden you need to put a barrier of some kind in place once you have removed the runners.  Most effective will be something like 15" square paving slabs stood on edge for the entire length of the bamboo plus a couple of feet at each end.  It's going to be hard work, but at least it only needs doing once.  Bamboo runners will continue to 'attack' unless a permanent obstruction is in place.
    We had a large bamboo which behaved perfectly OK until we had some work done in the garden.  The supposedly experienced gardener ripped out the barrier I had in place but didn't bother to tell me.  Within 12 months I had runners appearing all over the lawn.  I actually removed all the bamboo to prevent it happening again.
    It is not true that all types of bamboo are invasive and will put out runners eventually.  I have Fargesia nitida Chinese Fountain which is still a beautiful, if expanding, clump after about 25 years.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,243
    If you pay a visit to a botanical gardens, such as Kew, you will see that they all put a black plastic protective barrier around their bamboos.

    It’s tough, reinforced plastic, the type used for damp proof courses. It comes in lengths and is about a foot wide (deep), like this. Bury most of it and leave a couple of inches above ground.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • How deep does a bamboo barrier need to be?

    May impression has always been that they need to be 600mm to 900mm deep to  significant effect.

    I have a big clumping bamboo which is planted in an old asparagus bed (6 years ago) to be above ground level by about 18” but it still puts out extra bits from time to time outside te permitted zone. I cut them off at ground level but I may need to offer more resolute resistance at some point.
    “Rivers know this ... we will get there in the end.”
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 17,243
    I don’t know what type mine was in the previous garden, but it never escaped from a foot-deep barrier. Maybe I was lucky.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,806
    They're not very deep rooted.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 BristolPosts: 1,506
    I planted a bamboo in my garden 3 years ago because I adore them and I was aware they travel under ground and sprout away from the first plant.

    When I see a sprouting I pour a kettle of boiling water ( or saucepan of veg water ) over it and in a few days the new one has died.

    No pesticides , recycled water and about 1 minute of work.

    I am aware of causing offence to my lovely neighbour so I cut off the top 1 or 2 feet to keep it to the same height as her fence.

    Everybody's happy.  o:)
    Everyone is just trying to be Happy.
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