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Beware bamboo plants can be the new Japanese Knotwead

In recent years bamboo plants have become a fashionable adornment in borders and beside ponds in many suburban gardens.

However, its important to be aware that bamboo could be the ‘new Japanese knotweed’ according to the experts. It can grow by 5ft in a year and reach heights of 18ft in Britain, overwhelming gardens and blocking out neighbours’ light like leylandii.

Bamboo is actually is very like invasive Japanese knotweed, which lowers house prices and puts up insurance, some types of bamboo are extremely difficult to get rid of once they have spread. Gardeners try in vain to dig bamboo up or cut it back, only to see it return the next season.

It is also feared that bamboo, which has spread from gardens to 40 sites in the Sussex countryside, could pose a threat to native plant species, as knotweed does.

In recent years the Property Care Association have raised the issue of bamboo by presenting a garden planted with bamboo plants in the Great Pavilion at Chelsea Flower Show. They called the garden “The Enemy Within garden” and the garden was dedicated to invasive non-native plants, and also includes buddleia, Himalayan balsam and montbretia.

Bamboo cold be tomorrow’s Japanese knotweed, according to Professor Max Wade, from the trade body. ‘People who plant bamboo as a screen find it grows into the neighbour’s garden. We have seen someone move house because of bamboo next door which was blocking out the light Many people are not aware just how fast some types of bamboo can grow, and it’s an increasing problem.’

Bamboo, which originates in East Asia, came to Britain in the 1800s, but has become particularly fashionable in the past decade. Japanese knotweed was introduced to Britain in the middle of the Japanese knotweed was introduced to Britain in the middle of the 19th century, but it did not become a serious problem until around 1940. To prevent a similar problem with bamboo, experts are asking gardeners to ‘think before you plant’.

There are 15 to 20 species available in garden centres but the ‘running’ types of bamboo can take over a garden rapidly. These can grow 3ft to 5ft feet in height a year, with more established plants shooting up even faster. And their underground plant stems known as rhizomes, can spread more than 28 feet horizontally and produce roots. Its advisable if people want to have bamboo in their gardens they need to select a “clumping” rather than “running” variety and to plant them in a container rather than a flowerbed.   The tallest bamboo was reportedly 130 feet recorded in the Tropics. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world and can achieve up to 35 inches a day.