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Large stand of overgrown bamboo hedge along a road


Bamboo was introduced to Britain in the 19th century as a woody, perennial evergreen. It is part of the grass family and can range in height from 2 to 8m. The culms (stems) are hollow with prominent nodes, and the leaves are flat and pointed, with parallel veins. Flowering is rare.


Bamboo is a popular ornamental plant, commonly found in gardens across the UK. It is also found along woodland edges, shaded stream banks and disturbed habitats in places where it has escaped into the wild.


Bamboo species can be broadly divided into two groups: running and clumping (although the latter can also produce running rhizomes in the right conditions). The rhizomes of running bamboo are vigorous and can be far-reaching. They are highly invasive and can cause severe damage to the built environment, including neighbouring properties. Encroachment is a major source of disputes.


Vigorous growth of Bamboo has no boundaries and therefore can outcompete native plants. It can form very dense stands which block out sunlight, causing biodiversity issues. Early intervention can limit the impact to biodiversity, prevent spreading, reduce structural damage to build structures and garden features, and therefore prevent disputes / civil actions.   

Features of Bamboo 

A small stand of invasive running bamboo being removed from a garden showing new growth from rhizomes
  1. Elongated, flat green leaves with a short leaf stalk. Leaves taper to a pointed tip, with parallel veins along its length. Leaves can be up to 30cm long and between 3 and 9cm wide. There are 8-9 leaves per branch. Leaves are present all year round. Young leaves are yellow, turning green as they mature and then brown as they age.

  2. Hard, woody culms (stems) growing between 4-10 cm wide. Culms emerge from the ground and reach full height within 2-3 months. They become woodier as they age and lose their green colour. Culms have distinct nodes where leaf branches develop. Between these (internodes) can be smooth or grooved. The lifespan of a culm is about 10 years.

  3. Long, vigorous, horizontal spreading rhizomes. They are woody with smaller, fibrous roots and are typically 30cm below the ground, although some can be seen above ground.

Types of Bamboo Treatment

  • In-situ herbicide treatment: This is the application of herbicide to the foliage. It is effective for control of large stands.


  • In-situ manual treatment: Hand digging out small, isolated stands. It is effective for small areas and ideal for sensitive sites. Digging out reduces the rhizome system.


  • Remove and dispose: Mechanical excavation of larger stands. This is a last resort where other options are not viable. ERS is a licenced waste carrier and we can dispose of the bamboo at an appropriate licenced landfill.

Invasive bamboo spreading from a neighbouring property taking over garden and path

ERS has extensive experience in identification, management and remediation of Bamboo infested sites. We work with clients to develop a treatment strategy which meets their timescales, budget and future development requirements.


When Bamboo is identified on site, ERS can develop and implement a Bamboo management plan. This plan is essential, both for the current owner and any future owners, as a record for treatment of the site.


To enquire about a survey or management plan for Bamboo on your site, contact us today to speak to one of our Invasive Weeds experts.


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