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Council Considers Ordinance Prohibiting the Spread of Bamboo

Regulation would be enforced only on neighbor’s complaint.

At its March 22 meeting, the College Park City Council considered an ordinance to "prohibit the spread of bamboo onto adjoining properties.”

According to information from District 1 City Council Member Patrick Wojahn, the ordinance asks residents to be mindful of their neighbors when planting bamboo and would only be enforced if a neighbor (whose property is being encroached upon) complains about it.

Wojahn also noted that residents could easily address the problem by putting in barriers to prevent their bamboo from spreading into neighboring yards. If a resident doesn't address the problem, the City can step in and give the person a citation and a fine unless they put in a barrier.

Residents who’d like to comment on this proposed ordinance can do so at a public hearing on April 12 at 7:45 p.m. at Council chambers in City Hall.

Is such regulation necessary? If you’re a property owner who has had bamboo thrust upon you, the answer is likely to be “yes,” since bamboo is notoriously difficult to control. As noted in this article from the website Garden Know How.com, “eliminating bamboo plants is one of the toughest things you can do in the garden.”

“It can be done,” the website says, but it takes “diligence and perseverance.”

Briefly, here are the steps the website recommends in its article “How To Kill Bamboo Plants And Control Bamboo Spread”:

To Get Rid of Bamboo

• Get a shovel (or other equipment) and dig up the rhizomes and roots

•Next, kill bamboo plants as each new shoot emerges or by mowing patches frequently

• Expect to keep working on it for the next 2 to 3 years

To Control the Spread of Bamboo

• Build a barrier made of concrete or metal that goes down into the soil at least 2 inches deep and stands at least 6 inches tall.

• Monitor the barrier regularly for effectiveness.

 

Smith is a resident of north College Park. He blogs (occasionally) at www.ncpinformant.com.

Matthew Byrd March 29, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Joe, just a slight correction. Bamboo barriers must be 18-24 inches into the ground, with an additional 6 inches above ground-level. That's over 2 FEET of sheeting, no small gardening task, given the size of the yards here. The real tragedy is that most people who planted bamboo for privacy purposes, probably planted along their fence-lines, in the first place. Is this law going to cover only new encroachments, or is the City going to run around to every yard with existing bamboo in it, citing homeowners? I agree that bamboo should be controlled properly, but I think a less punitive, more educational approach would be helpful. Perhaps the CBE could develop a pamphlet guiding homeowners on how to control bamboo infestations in their yards, if the problem really is widespread enough to justify this ordinance. That pamphlet should be distributed along with the citation. A lot of people faced with bamboo problems are probably not the ones who planted it originally, and they are going to need some guidance.
Joe Smith August 10, 2011 at 08:58 PM
Matt, Yes -- 2 feet -- not 2 inches, and yes, The City's Tree and Landscape Board is currently developing a brochure about controlling bamboo infestations. We're discussing drafts now and will have the finished product on our site as soon as it's ready. - JS
C. Darnell May 31, 2013 at 01:16 AM
I would like to know how to get some interest in Cobb County regarding a similar ban. I live in an older subdivision and both neighbors have planted bamboo with no barriers. It is a lot of work on my end to dig it up and it is spreading quickly. Your help with a contact to see if I can get some interest in this matter for home owners who don't want to see their property destroyed with is infestation from a neighbor.

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