Bamboo Invasion Causing Problems in Philadelphia Suburbs

Several municipalities are worried about certain species of bamboo, which many consider to be an invasive species.

Officials in Tinicum Township are looking for advice on what to do with a nasty pest that has invaded the community: Bamboo. They’re looking for advice from the Upper Bucks County township’s Environmental Advisory Committee on what to do with the flowering perennial.

Bamboo, says township supervisor Nick Forte, can “get out of control quickly.” Mainly used as a way for attractive, naturally grown privacy between neighbors, bamboo is nearly impossible to control. It can grow up to 12 inches in a single day, and roots can spread as far as 20 feet from the original planting.

The result: 15-feet high walls that can harm foundations of buildings, limit sightlines at intersections and even block roads.


Many townships in the area have ordinances against bamboo. Haverford, Delaware County, has a $1,000 fine for growing bamboo. Perkasie has regulations requiring bamboo planters to keep it on their own property. A ban has been proposed in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Connecticut recently passed a law regulating growth of phyllostachys, or yellow groove bamboo. "Relief has come to Connecticut residents living behind the bamboo curtain," the Valley Independent Sentinel wrote. New York state considers yellow groove bamboo an invasive species.

There's no timeframe for when Tinicum supervisors will take up the bamboo issue again.

[The Intelligencer | Ocean City Gazette]

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