Author: Mike Clough

Date Posted: Wednesday 19th June 2024

Bamboo is the new Japanese knotweed.

No – it’s not.

I’m sorry but the number of articles that are currently in the press suggesting that bamboo is the ‘new Japanese knotweed’ is just ridiculous. I feel that the marketing departments of certain weed control companies are just looking to broaden their operations and are looking to make homeowners panic.

Bamboo is not difficult to identify and is a domestic problem caused by poorly managed gardens and basically the wrong plant in the wrong place. Anybody buying a new property should be able to spot the issue and ensure that correct agreements are put in place during contract negotiations to fund removal… if ….the plant is causing damage.

If you have a neighbour who has bamboo that has ‘running’ root systems that are encroaching into your property they have a legal obligation to remove and pay for any costs associated with damage.

However, please be clear – many bamboos will not cause any issues if they are ‘clump forming’ rather than ‘running bamboo’ varieties. Fargesia, for example, will form clumps that are not invasive and will provide screening and ornamental value with no likelihood of damage by its root systems.

You should also note that pretty much any plant could cause a problem if left unchecked. The scale of problem being very much dependent on the size of plant and the vigor of its roots.

Yes ‘running bamboo’ can be a serious issue if left unchecked, but I would also point to a significant number of other plants that could also cause problems. Willows, maples, magnolia, poplars, eucalyptus, birch trees …all have reputations as having destructive root systems…yet all are common garden plants.

Japanese knotweed, however, is a whole different scale of problem.

The way it spreads.

The rapidity of its growth.

The speed at which it dominates its surroundings.

The smallest fragments causing new growth.

The way it produces a pathogen to stop other plants from growing.

The difficulty to eradicate.

All the above put this plant in a different league to the typical garden plants described as the ‘new Japanese knotweed’.

I believe that the articles stating that bamboo is in fact ‘worse than Japanese knotweed’ devalue the scale of the issues around the Japanese invader and evoke a sense that there are multiple garden plants that are as problematic as JK when actually there is nothing quite like a knotweed invasion.

Japanese knotweed has taken over our rivers, our waterways, our roadside verges, our railway lines, our parks …

… certain parts of the UK – for example around Swansea – have more Japanese knotweed than any other species… producing mono culture stands where nothing else will grow.

You will not find bamboo or any other garden plant causing his level of damage….so ‘no’ it’s not the new Japanese knotweed.

Yes it can be a problem and yes we will assist you with removing the plant if necessary.


 … we won’t panic, we won’t try and convince you it’s the ‘new’ anything…we will just calmly give you a price and get rid of it – if it’s a problem.

 If it isn’t a problem, we will also tell you… and make sure you are fully up to speed with any likely issues that could arise.

 Mike C

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Mike Clough

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