Huntsville homeowner battles neighbor’s bamboo

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A Huntsville homeowner called WHNT News 19 about a growing problem. She says bamboo has spread from her neighbor’s yard into hers.  Lena Gibson can’t get her neighbor to trim the pesky plant.  So, she wants the city to step in. The city refuses.

Bamboo is nice looking, but creates a mess.  It takes drastic measures to end a bamboo battle.

Gibson is all about being outdoors.  She has a green thumb.  She also has an aching body.

“Oh, you better believe it,” said Gibson.

Gibson laughs now, but cringes when greeted by the unwelcome visitor.

“The roots from the bamboo are coming up in my yard.  It`s gotten so that it is uncontrollable,” added Gibson.

The bamboo reaches from her patio to her rose garden and several points in between. Gibson’s neighbor planted it about 20 years ago.

“It`s his.  It came from his yard.  If he had maybe put a retaining wall,or something over there, it may not have been over here like this now,” added Gibson.

But, it’s in Gibson’s yard to stay.

“It`s very invasive.  It will take over.  It does not stop.  It`s just destructive,” added Gibson.

She’s not making this up.

“It`s one of the fastest growing plants we have in the world today,” added Gibson.

Huntsville Botanical Garden’s Chief Operating Officer, Harvey Cotten, has tested almost every plant out there.

“It`s very aggressive. It can spread quite rapidly and grow quite tall each year,” added Gibson.

Gibson spent years trying to get rid of the bamboo.

“Every week, I have to get out here.  It gets harder and harder for me to do this because I have arthritis and everything. I can`t keep doing this. I think I have been more than patient,” added Gibson.

Gibson called the city’s Community Development office.  Code enforcement officers consider bamboo an ornamental plant and won’t do anything.

Gibson tried getting help elsewhere.

“I`ve had two people come out to look at my yard.  They`ve looked at me and told me they don`t know what they can do other than digging up the yard to kill the roots.  Until he kills that over there, I am going to have the problem,” added Gibson.

A code enforcement officer told WHNT News 19 a lot of city taxpayers call city hall to ask for help getting rid of bamboo.  They say before planting bamboo, you should do your homework. Everyone should understand how it impacts your neighbors.

Garden experts will tell you one way to help get rid of bamboo is to keep smashing the shoots when they first pop out of the ground.



  • Nuclear Mike

    This is sort of like weeds, leaves and rainwater…my neighbor has a cane break too in his front yard and it is taking over…you will have to work at it regardless…seems not fair but neither are my leaves when they pile up next door from the wind…

  • CN

    I have bamboo/river cane and it has been a bane of my existance since I moved into my house in 1996. I’ve burned it, cut it, and even hired a witch doctor to curse it all to no avail. You have to keep the runners from spreading and I was told to place some kind of barrier a couple of feet below ground and surround the cane with it to keep the runners in check. As far as herbicides go, Garlon 3 and Arsenal will work but you have to cut down the cane first before you can apply them and those particular products don’t come cheap. Perhaps we can start a cane co-op–you help me cut mine and I will help you cut yours…

  • JB

    the city needs to deem it invasive and help home owners out. the ones that planted it didnt know how invasive it was but enough is enough. Homeowners need to do their part in containing it. That goes double for people about to plant kiwi.

  • Daisy

    I completly destroyed a huge stand of bamboo by cutting each stalk off with loppers then IMMEDIATELTY coating the raw stub left with Roundup. I sprinkled it on with a plastic spoon but think a paintbrush would be easier. Course I had to keep pulling up some runners for a long time. And kept mowing over spaces as I got them cleared. But it is GONE!!!

  • calm_down

    What does the Botanical Gardens guy hae to do with anything? You just sort of threw his name out there without any supporting remarks. Way to proofread. Seems on par with the majority of the stories WHNT posts.

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