Invasive Bamboo Plant Finding Its Way Across Indiana

The bamboo plant is a highly renewable resource that is able to grow to maturity in as little as three to five years. In bamboo, as in other grasses, the internal regions of the stem are typically hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross-section are scattered throughout the stems. Though bamboo is a strong, durable, and useful material, an increasing number of cities across the United States are now adopting regulations to limit the sale and planting of bamboo.

According to Indiana Public Media, various types of bamboo, though strong and useful, are actually considered quite invasive, and can rapidly spread to neighboring properties, potentially harming entire communities. However, completely stopping the planting of bamboo is not all that simple.

“Stopping it is next to impossible without major excavation work,” said Brandi Host, who has to clear a large portion of bamboo from her property once a year, which requires two truckloads to have it hauled off and eventually burned. “And, so what I’m trying to do is just maintain and control it more than anything.”

Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance across Asia. Host lives right in the middle of Bloomington, Indiana, but her home is outlined with thick patches of bamboo stacks, many of them more than twice her height. She actually enjoys the privacy benefits of the bamboo wall, but certainly underestimated the amount of work she needs to put into taking care of all that bamboo.

The previous owner’s wife at the closing asked me if I owned a truck,” Host added. “I said I didn’t. And, she just giggled. Because she knew.”

As a result of a unique rhizome-deponent system, bamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants in the entire world. Yellow groove bamboo is the most common type of bamboo planted throughout Indiana and is a ruling bamboo, making it even more difficult to control.

“When you’re planting something like yellow grove bamboo, that’s one of the running bamboos, you’re not planting it in your yard,” added Ellen Jacquart, chair of Monroe County Identify and Reduce Invasive Species. “You’re planting it in the county.”

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