Running bamboo has acquired an evil reputation in Connecticut. And now the state is trying to increase restrictions on this plant and create potentially big financial risks for people who let it run wild.
Legislation signed into law this week by Gov. Dannel Malloy doesn’t go as far as some bamboo critics hoped – they wanted to totally prohibit the sale or planting of running bamboo in Connecticut.
But the new law, which took effect immediately, does expand on anti-bamboo legislation passed in 2013. That initial bill prohibited planting of running bamboo within 100-feet of a neighbor’s property, but included some significant loopholes.
The first was that it applied only to plantings that occurred after the law took effect in October 2013. The second was that it allowed plantings closer to a property line if the bamboo was “properly contained” by a barrier system.
Many Connecticut residents suffering from damage caused by running bamboo planted much earlier insisted that the 2013 law didn’t go far enough.
The new law bans the planting of this bamboo variety within 40 feet of an abutting property or a public right of way, regardless of any containment system, and applies to running bamboo no matter when it was planted.
The law also labels running bamboo that goes beyond the original owner’s property line as a legal “nuisance,” which clarifies a neighbor’s right to sue for damages.
If someone does allow his or her running bamboo to infiltrate a neighbors yard, the bamboo’s original owner would be liable for any cleanup costs. And cleaning up running bamboo can involve bulldozers and thousands of dollars. In addition, anyone found violating the law could be fined $100 a day until the situation was remedied.
The problem with this particular plant is that it does what its name implies: it runs.
Running bamboo (a term which includes yellow-groove bamboo) is an imported decorative plant that spreads not with seeds but by sending out underground shoots that can extend for hundreds of feet. Then shoots grow upward, like green spikes.
People have complained about these bamboo spikes piercing decks, sidewalks, paved driveways, and even the siding on homes. There are reports of homeowners spending thousands of dollars in efforts to get rid of the highly invasive stuff.