Bamboo: Invasive or Decorative?

Bamboo is a plant that immediately makes you think or somewhere exotic in the far east – the plant has been used in many themed gardens over the years and is still used today as a decorative plant. However, due to the way bamboo grows, it can quickly overrun a small garden – is it invasive, or is it a feature plant?

The case for invasive

Excavation of Japanese Knotweed for NRSBamboo can be categorised into two types ‘clumping’ or ‘running’ – the ‘running’ bamboo sends out long lateral rhizomes which causes the plant to spread. Since the rhizomes grow underground, the plant can spread to neighbouring properties, by passing underneath fences, hedging or walls. This can also cause damage to those structures, causing significant issues. Bamboo can also be hard to remove – many herbicides are not effective against bamboo, meaning that excavation of the plant and the rhizome infected soil is the only effective method of removing this.

The case for decorative

Bamboo tends to grow in large clumps – this can create focal points in your garden and can add structure to your borders. Bamboo is relatively hardy, meaning in grows well in most soils, provided they are not overly wet. There are many varieties of bamboo, meaning that there should be a type that suits every garden. Bamboo can provide well needed shade and is also fast growing so can quickly fill a bed.

Bamboo can be a blessing or a curse for your garden, depending on where you place it and how you look after it. Take care when considering this plant for your garden!

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