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Homeowner endures landscaping nightmare spreading from neighbor's property: 'Ruined my backyard'

"Still finding roots."

"Still finding roots."

Photo Credit: iStock

Bamboo is so popular that there's a subreddit dedicated to it, but the invasive species can do untold damage to ecosystems.

As one homeowner found out, even a neighbor's plot can overrun your property.

"My neighbors bamboo ruined my backyard," they wrote. "We are recovering, but holy Hanna."

The poster added that it took 80 hours of work to remove about 30% of the golden bamboo. The tallest cane stretched nearly 20 feet, and the underground crawlers reached the foundation of their house plus their front porch, chimney, air conditioning unit, gas line, and raised garden. It even got to their driveway on the other side of the lot.

All that from a 15-by-2-foot patch in a neighbor's yard that spread to just 10 feet short of invading two other neighbors' spaces. Bamboo and other invasive species cost citizens around the world hundreds of billions of dollars every year and are one reason for the biodiversity loss crippling the planet.

"I bought a house that had very similar issues," one Redditor sympathized. "We payed a landscaper to remove the top 3 feet of soil in our back yard and replace it with fresh dirt and grass seed. Still finding roots."

Another poster said: "So sorry you're going through this. If it's any consolation, with the main plant gone, the rhizome should exhaust itself in a few years if you keep it chopped down. Cut down every shoot you see before it gets leaves, once the shoot is cut, it will never grow again. Kicking the young shoots over, mowing over them, or otherwise crushing them will also work."

Golden bamboo was introduced to the United States from Asia in 1882, according to the National Invasive Species Information Center. It grows in dense stands that outcompete and displace native species, causing harm to natural forests.

The species, which "does best in full sun," grows extremely quickly and can find its way out of containment, the University of Florida's Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants reported.

It recommended that bamboo should not be purchased, propagated, or planted because of its ability to escape. For small infestations, cutting and mowing can be effective, but the woody grass must be cropped close to the ground and multiple times per growing season over several years as it resprouts.

Bamboo is beloved for its distinctive look and provision of privacy, but because of its potential to devastate the local environment — not to mention your and your neighbors' houses and properties — it should be kept out of your garden. Alternatives include rewilding your yard or going au naturel.

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