The Hempstead Town Board unanimously adopted legislation at Tuesday's board meeting that will stem the planting, growing or maintaining of bamboo plants on local properties in the township.
Town officials are responding to the complaints of residents who have had to deal with invasive bamboo encroaching on their properties from adjoining parcels.
According to the town, in recent months, many residents have displayed evidence of damaged tree roots, pipes, sidewalks and even foundations as a result of out-of-control bamboo growth. The root structure found in many types of bamboo tends to expand horizontally, making the plant difficult to maintain and more likely to cause damage to its surrounding area than other types of plants.
Residents have documented bamboo roots migrating from neighboring properties and literally sprouting through and cracking garage floors, sidewalks and driveways. For some homeowners, the damage has cost them thousands of dollars to remediate.
“Usually I’ve heard of people building cement barrier walls between them and their neighbors because it was just creeping over from their neighbors’ side,” said Oscar Basso of in New Hyde Park, recalling a situation where he would plant bamboo in a pair of larger plastic containers so it wouldn’t break out only to discover it had done so.
“When someone plants it on their property it’s not going to stay on their property,” he said. “I like it, but my neighbor might not like it.”
The nursery stopped selling bamboo in 2009, when the first cries against bamboo began to start.
“People were asking for it because it’s inexpensive,” he said, noting that the plant multiplies very fast.
The town confirmed that those who have bamboo on their property must come into compliance with the law and that the town will work with neighbors to facilitate compliance.
This law will be enforced by the Town of Hempstead Department of Sanitation. If residents have a complaint about bamboo plants encroaching on their properties, they are urged to call the department at (516) 378-4210.