Bamboo-zled! State Holds Property Owners Accountable for Bamboo Growth

Bamboo 1 resized 600Within Connecticut, planting of bamboo has become popular, particularly along coastal areas. However, most are unaware of how quickly and extensively bamboo can spread, and hence, the new liabilities property owners assume when planting.

The particular type of bamboo under scruitiny is known to regulators as “running bamboo.” Though not considered an invasive species in Connecticut, it has a root system that is particularly adept at spreading underground, and if not carefully maintained, will spread from one property to another. According to an article published February 17th on, the “bamboo roots spread and travel underground far from the visible plants and new shoots can pop up just about anywhere. They are strong enough to tear up patios and foundations and destroy septic systems.”

The new law is now effective across the state, and is very clear about who is responsible for maintaining the aggresive plant; “no person who plants running bamboo or who allows running bamboo to be planted on his or her property shall permit such bamboo to grow beyond the boundaries of his or her property. On and after October 1, 2013, any person who violates the provisions of this subsection shall be liable for any damages caused to any neighboring property by such bamboo, including, but not limited to, the cost of removal of any running bamboo that grew beyond the boundaries of his or her property” (Substitute Senate Bill No. 1016, Public Act No. 13-82).

The Invasive Plant Council of Connecticut included Mike Johnson of Summer Hill Nursery in Madison, Connecticut, in an article about old research pertaining to running bamboo. “He recommends a 36-inch plastic 60-mil (0.060 inch) barrier be planted 34 inches into the ground around the bamboo with two inches protruding above the soil surface. According to Senack, the barrier should be angled outward, leaning away from the stand of bamboo, to direct the rhizomes and new shoots to grow up and out of the soil and over the barrier. A person can then find and remove the new bamboo growth before it spreads” (, 2013).

So if you have bamboo on your property, or were thinking about planting some, you’ll want to make sure that you’re planting them with a healthy buffer zone from property lines, and your own septic system and other improvements.