Invasive bamboo shoots into neighbor’s yard in east Charlotte

CHARLOTTE — A local homeowner is fed up after a neighbor’s exotic plant has taken over her yard.

Chris Scheipers says her neighbors planted bamboo years ago and that it grew into her east Charlotte yard, even under a fence. She says eventually “they decided to get rid of theirs,” but that hers kept going. “I’ve watched it grow and grow,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

Even worse, bamboo is very busy underground. It sends out stems, called rhizomes. The result: stalks can shoot up in the middle of your lawn, nowhere near the thicket. Yes, Scheipers has that too.

“I’m a widow. My husband would have been out here, digging it up. But I have rheumatoid arthritis. There’s no way I can tackle this myself,” she said. So she feels she needs someone else to get rid of all the bamboo. She hasn’t had the heart to call lawn companies, afraid of the price. She’s hoping to find a youth group looking for volunteer work.

“It’s very hard to get rid of, Charlotte Assistant City Arborist Victoria Aguilar says. “It would be a lot of intense work, probably over several years.”

She says you have to keep mowing bamboo -- shave it to the ground -- to destroy it. And if you leave even the slightest remnant, she says, “They’re going to just keep sending those rhizomes -- those shoots -- out and you’re just going to constantly have to keep cutting it back.”

If you have a neighbor with bamboo and want to prevent it from invading your yard, do two things:

1. Dig a trench between your two properties

2. Buy barriers, plastic guards that go into the ground 18-24 inches deep. They cost about $150 for 100 feet. Just remember: call 811 before you dig so you don’t hit any utilities.

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