Is Clumping Bamboo an invasive problem?

Asked May 1, 2018, 3:46 PM EDT

I'm on a landscaping committee for our Homeowners association, and we are adjudicating a dispute between neighbors. One has had planted (by a bamboo specialty landscaper) clumping bamboo: 5 plants of Fargesia rufius, 3' apart, all 3 1/2 feet from their border fence. Another fence has a single Fargesia scabrida at a similar distance. The neighbors complain that this is an invasive plant, not allowed by the CC&R's, and that it will impact their property as it spreads. The homeowners counter that clumping bamboo is not invasive and is far enough that it will not be a problem. Our options are requiring the plants' removal, allowing them to stay, or allowing them to stay as long as a barrier is installed. Since a landscaper has stated that a 3' deep barrier in our dense, clay soil for the 20 or 25 linear feet required would cost them upwards of $1000, this would be no small request. Before we decide, we wanted to have as much reliable info as possible. Is clumping Bamboo really considered not invasive, or is that just an industry claim. How long can a 3 1/3 foot buffer for clumping bamboo be considered to last for clumping bamboo of genus fargesia? Any background you can give will help.

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

The link below is to the page on hardy clumping bamboos from the Bamboo Garden website, whose nursery is in North Plains. Basically, the whole section is on Fargesia. Clumping bamboos spread much more slowly than running types, which I’m sure is what the neighbors are thinking of when they hear the word “bamboo”. The introduction to the genus suggests these species spread 4-6” per year. They are specifically used as privacy barriers. I see that F. ‘Scabrida’ is listed but I do not see a listing for F. rufius, unless the correct name is Fargesia sp. ‘Rufa’. Note that this website also has information on bamboo control and Bamboo Barrier, which as noted already would certainly eliminate whatever unwanted spread might occur. F. ‘Scabrida’ certainly sounds like a nice plant!