A Hampshire home is invaded by bamboo from neighbour's garden, costing over £100k in repairs

'the worst case of bamboo encroachment ever seen in the UK'

A house in Hampshire has been invaded by bamboo from a neighbouring property. The invasive plant emerged in the living room, study, hall, and kitchen – resulting in over £100k in repairs.

The bamboo originally formed part of a garden edging idea in a neighbour's garden. It had been planted directly into the ground to form a screen.

bamboo bursting up into living room and through the wall

(Image credit: Environet UK)

Bamboo growing through Hampshire house

Hidden below the surface of the house, it began to develop a vast network of rhizomes. These underground plant stems eventually burst up through the concrete floor.

‘This is the worst case of bamboo encroachment and damage to property I’ve ever seen in this country,’ says Nic Seal, founder of Environet UK. He explains that the homeowners suffered a huge financial cost. Plus, they had to vacate their home for several months.

The entire ground floor of the house had to be dug up in order to excavate the hundreds of metres of bamboo runners underneath. 'Running' varieties of bamboo form lateral shoots that can travel over 1o metres.

bamboo with rich green leaves bursting through a living room wall

(Image credit: Environet UK)

Their ability to penetrate brickwork, drains, cavity walls and patios means they can cause more damage than Japanese knotweed, which is well known for devaluing houses if found nearby. Gardeners have long been warned of the risks with bamboo, but it remains a popular garden idea.

'I would urge anyone considering planting bamboo to think twice,' comments Nic. 'And if you already have it growing in your garden, take action now to ensure it’s properly contained.’

You can prevent bamboo from spreading in your garden by choosing a clumping variety, rather than a running variety. Look for Bambusa, available at Amazon or Chusquea.

bamboo runners under ground

(Image credit: Environet UK)

Always plant bamboo in a container or a strong pot – never directly into the ground or you'll risk a similar The Day of the Triffids-style invasion. As well as buying the right type of bamboo and planting it in a pot, you'll need to take steps to maintain it.

It's a good idea to prune your bamboo hard and regularly, at least every spring. Bamboo is considered a pretty low-maintenance plant, making it an easy garden idea – as long as you keep it in check.

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.