SMITHTOWN, NY (WCBS 880) – Love thy neighbor? Not so much in one Long Island town.

WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports

The town of Smithtown is considering an argument to ban bamboo after a homeowner alleges his neighbor’s plants have invaded and damaged his property.

The angry man even tried to legally force the bamboo owner to remove the invasive 40-foot plants, but to no avail.

Another neighbor, however, doesn’t quite get all the commotion.

“No big problem with me. I mean, it looks nice I think,” he said.

Bamboo is restricted in two Long Island villages but so far, there is no ban.

Comments (29)
  1. Carol Merritt says:

    If your neighbor has planted uncontained running bamboo and it is now growing in your yard, please call me:

    352 686-3975

  2. Sarah D,. says:

    We have the same problem with a neighbor’s 30′ wide x 30′ high wall of bamboo that is adjacent to out property line for over 7 years and insists this plant is not invasive. Now we have 33 shoots on 1/4th of our front yard going towards the street, back yard and center of front lawn. We contacted city hall and they wrote a letter…If anyone has advice about litigation or a way to contact federal government, please let us know. It will cost us $7,000 to put in a 100′ wall and dig up all the rhizomes. Guarenteed for one year….Please help

  3. EK says:

    We have a neighbor whose 40′ bamboo has invaded our yard. It is threatening our septic system. He refuses to control it. We spent a few thousands dollars cutting it down and getting rid of it in dumpsters we paid for. The neighbor is angry that we are cutting the bamboo in our yard! We are tired and are at our wits end with the bamboo which continues to sprout. We are forced to cut it down every other day. Our nightmare will never end until he gets rid of his or tries to control it. If anyone has any ideas how to control it please contact us:

    1. Jim says:

      Bamboo Habitat, sells rhizome barrier, which is made of high density polyethylene, and will stop bamboo from spreading.A ditch around the bamboo is required and the barrier goes into the ditch, 27 inches. The rhizomes can not go through this material.

  4. lydia says:

    Correction–please use if you wish to contact the arborist. I inadvertently posted an old address.

  5. lydia says:

    I do not live in NY. Iis there anyone who could advise on how to “go Federal” with assistance once bambooed, since there are so many unfortunate victims that spend thousands on time spent, legal fees not to mention the unbearable damage and personal angst.

  6. lydia says:

    If there is any attorney that is willing to legally take on this near-the-end horror pro bono or on contingency,(which is now non-jury (why non-jury?) trial after two recently failed mediation attempts, nine years of legal wrangling, please provide contact info. I’m sure the other side will throw some settlement bone soon to avoid trial but not nearly enough to only cover what has been expended. This matter is my mother’s home and not even my own. I’ve been told that I cannot recoup any legal fees or other fees associated with almost futile attempts to help my family. If any attorney can help me take this to a trial by jury, please let yourself be known.

  7. lydia says:

    The article states (last sentence) that L.I. has two vilages that ban bamboo. Which ones are they and how did they accomplish the restriction? The township citation code may be helpful. How do we find out?

  8. Lydia says:

    An expert arborist in this field is Russ Carlson whose e-mail is My response to Cnomorebamboo, sorry,I cannot share the report prepared for us since it’s in litigation. Litigation is very costly and a hideous way to control this monster. I spoke to a woman from Conn. who saw this blog and both of us agreed that the only way to get any relief is to do so on a Federal level with lots of noise from the unfortunates who have been bambooed. Local municipalities (at least ours) don’t even acknowledge it or any other violations, regardless of how seriously they violate zoning or nuisance or any other township ordinances. They refer to it as a neighbor dispute, can you believe it? I would just love to have a trial by jury since I cannot fathom anyone sitting on a jury wouldn’t sympathize. You have to control it, cut it back, chip it up, haul it away and often. The cost and physical labor is on top of the emotional upsetness. Also, I understand that blackbirds that thrive in bamboo can carry histoplasmosis (sp?) which is a bird-caused respiratory illness. How nice.

  9. fangorn says:

    Some bamboo is quite invasive, and it can be destructive. Culms (shoots) of some species can grow several feet in a week. And as long as a part of the stand remains, it will continue to invade across property lines.

  10. Daniel says:

    From personal experience I think the invasiveness of bamboo is over rated. New shoots can be run over with a lawnmower, or gathered and used in a stirfry.
    I removed several hundred square feet of it by cutting it down at ground level and mowing the area about once a week. It very quickly ran out of energy.

  11. George Myers says:

    “Botanists identify new species of North American bamboo”

  12. Rye says:

    Bamboo has many use well before it is known as a flooring material: landscaping, baskets, musical instruments, furnitures, fishing rods, utensils, bridges, fences… bamboo shoots are eaten in Asia. It is used for carving, and its fiber has also been made into clothing. It is my favorite grass since it is both beautiful and useful. However, just like any grass, it is very invasive and should be planted in a cement trough sunk into the ground. Otherwise, it will spread and become a landscaping nightmare.

  13. Barbara Murphy says:

    Roundup works well!

  14. lydia bitcover says:

    I have nine plus years of this horror with my family home. I am going to reach the arborist that wrote our expert report for legal and other reasons. I f ok with him, I’ll send it for you all to read about the horror bamboo causes, how hard and expensive it iis to control and how expensive it is ito permanently remove

    1. c nomorebamboo says:

      can I get a copy of that expert report? I’m in the same boat – court date coming up.

      Thank you

  15. The Good Samaritan says:

    My gas is soooo bad, I can’t stand it. Here, have a whiff!

    The Good Samaritan has spoken.

  16. Roy says:

    no wonder bamboo flooring is so cheap

  17. David Flores says:

    i prefer ez wider just saying…

    1. argyle says:

      LOL … double wide too 🙂

  18. NYC says:

    Bamboo is an invasive plant species that is not indigenous to the area. It can spread like wildfire because it grows so quickly, thereby out-competing local plant species for space and nutrients. It is said that bamboo can grow so quickly, that you can literally sit and watch it grow.

  19. JOHN says:


  20. Flynn says:

    I’m with exibanker, can someone explain why Bamboo is bad? Is there some sort of ecological damage it does? Or is this a case of someone just doesnt like the appearance?

    1. ratso says:

      It is very invasive and spreads undersround by shooting its roots system outward. The proper way to plant it is to install a cage around the root system to limit this spread. Most people dont know this and hence the problem.

  21. pugphan says:

    bad bamboo sounds funny to me bad bad bamboo…smokersodysseycom

  22. exibanker says:

    Why is bamboo bad? It is fantastic!!!!!

    1. fangorn says:

      There are many species of bamboo, some are very invasive, some not. The invasive species send our runners that sprout new shoots or poles. Once a new stand of bamboo is established, little else will grow there, and getting rid of it means digging our all the runners (rhizomes). Herbicides can help, but only if you get rid of the whole stand. Otherwise it keeps coming back. Bamboo looks nice where it has room to grow. In small yards and near property lines, it creates major problems.

  23. booberg says:

    Boo all you want, but bamboo is bad & better be banned.

    1. Jack says:

      I personally love bamboo but if you want to kill an entire stand of it just use Toprdon RTU according to label directions on your side of the fence and the whole stand connected via its rizosphere will wilt and die very soon. Then your neighbor can install a proper barrier and replant if he wishes. Really, why don’t you just mow it?

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