Householders are being urged to select and plant certain types of bamboo carefully to prevent the spread of invasive types that can damage properties.

Dr Peter Fitzsimons, from the Property Care Association (PCA), has warned that some bamboo plants are “aggressive spreaders” and that once planted can be difficult to control.  

This is because small sections of their roots can regrow, making it harder to manage.

Dr Fitzsimons, who is a technical manager at the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group, said the problem in bamboo colonies stems from the use of bamboo for “style” in garden makeovers in the 80’s which has continued since.

He said: “Bamboo plants have attractive foliage and their fast growth helps to create screens but once established they are difficult to manage. 

Watford Observer: Dr Peter Fitzsimons (Photo PCA)Dr Peter Fitzsimons (Photo PCA)

“This can lead to boundary encroachment disputes very similar to those we see with Japanese knotweed.  Small sections of their roots (rhizomes) can regrow so contaminated soil placed in a ditch or hedgerow can quickly lead to colonies appearing in the wild too.”

He added that management is “key” in controlling their spread.

“Householders, gardeners and other horticulturists can make a valuable contribution towards this,” Dr Fitzsimons said.

“Increasingly, PCA members are being called upon more often to deal with the plant, which can damage buildings.

“They are at the front line in combating invasive weeds in the UK and Ireland and recognise that prevention is a whole lot better than the large-scale effort needed to keep non-native plants under control.”

Dr Fitzsimons has also offered steps people can take to prevent bamboo spreading.

He said: “Our advice is that a bit of research before choosing what to plant and where to plant it is a good idea. 

“For example, a ‘running’ bamboo species ought only to be planted well away from a neighbouring property and, preferably, in raised beds.

“These beds should have a robust root barrier or large containers used on a hard standing to stop it going where it’s not wanted.”

The warning comes during Invasive Species Week, which is an annual event led by the GB non-native species secretariat to raise awareness of invasive species and how everyone can help to prevent their spread.

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