Neighbours Bamboo plants threatening to encroach

Hi. My neighbours (in the Dordogne) have tall bamboo in their gardens. Our garden is separated from one neighbour by a road and the other by a very short cul de sac (more of a ginnel around 20 metres long) which is owned (but not maintained) by the commune. The bamboo is tall enough to grow into the telephone and electricity wires and the roots have broken through both the road and the ginnel. If the roots appear in our garden and advance towards our house, or the bamboo damages the overhead electricity cable to our house, what is my best course of action? Both neighbouring properties are holiday homes owned by French families and rarely visited. (Our house is also a holiday home). Do I start by approaching the Mairie? Thanks in advance for any help.

We recently had a Brit approach the Mairie with a couple of queries re his neighbours and stuff that wasn’t being done properly… in a way, a bit like yours…

The Maire explained that the Brit needed to contact the neighbours and discuss directly with them…

It’s not clear to me if your problem would be similarly treated or if (hopefully) the Mairie would be prepared to take a hand in the matter…

thus I reckon a visit to the Mairie might be in order… certainly worth a try.
(they might well be able to provide an address/phone number… for the absentee neighbours)

best of luck

Bamboo is the only thing in France which can’t be dealt with by a suitable application of gazole and/or javel.

Thank you very much for that, that’s very helpful. :slightly_smiling_face:

Tell me about it :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Bamboo is a well known nuisance. If it is damaging the roadway then the commune might be prepared to act. If not you will have to do this yourself.

There are many precedents, so you will most likely be successful. See this one example

So start with aimable approach of a simple letter (but sent LRAR) alerting thém to the problem and asking them to take action. Give a timescale. The next step is then medition or a formal mise en demure letter, preferably delivered by a huissier. If that doesn’t work you take them to court

The local courts are a bit like a small claims court, so not majorly expensive or compex.

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It most definitely is not.
Have you not heard of Japanese Knotweed, which is even more invasive.


Once again, that is most helpful. Thank you very much indeed.

Oh yes. As a river fisherman I also know about Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed. At least the Triffids haven’t arrived. Yet.

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Yeah, you’ll need a JDAM to shift that.

If they are close to the electricity cables you should inform Enedis, who may prune them.

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I currently have the same problem here in the UK with my neighbour’s bamboo - he has agreed to get it removed but that hasn’t happened yet.

The bamboo was planted right up against the fence and started to come up through the tarmac of our driveway. I broke off the spikes that were protruding and sprayed the remainder of the runner with weedkiller - that seems to have stopped it in its tracks for now. Apparently the growth season for it is April to July so I’m hoping it has finished sprouting and when our neighbour gets the main plants removed that will be the end of it.

But I would imagine you would be within your rights to chop off any growth that’s coming through on your property (n.b. I am not a lawyer, especially not a French one!)

It’s worth looking it up on youtube or gardening websites because it can be a right bar steward to eradicate even if your neighbour does get his removed. Poison the runners in your tarmac and inspect the area each year for new ones. I’d also take a photo of anything coming through or any damage - just in case

Thanks Bill - yes that’s the first thing I did!!

I’ll see your bamboo and raise you some japanese knotweed…

To quote Ellen Ripley (late of the USCSS Nostromo) “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.”.


We have some supposedly “clump-forming” bamboo in our garden, which tends to be sold as non-invasive. What we’ve found is that clump-forming means that the roots growing out from the mother plant form new clumps rather than lines :roll_eyes:

However, what I would suggest about neighbours’ invading bamboo is, if possible, sink an impenetrable vertical barrier (e.g. hard plastic or metal or the like) along the boundary, chopping through the bamboo roots as you go. Then you are “just” dealing with the roots that have already invaded. Our experience is that a couple of feet down is enough as the creeping roots don’t actually go that deep, but others here may well know if all bamboos are like that.

Since it spreads by roots rather than seed, you can trace the severed roots as far as you can into your garden and dig them up. It’s not very difficult. Obviously, any section where they go under e.g. tarmac would have to be dealt with by weedkiller, but if you don’t have the barrier, they’ll keep coming…

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Many thanks, that’s great advice.

As the seeds from Giant Hogweed are blown out into the Universe, the Intergalactic Community declares war on the 3rd rock from the Sun.


We have a property with a well established black bamboo forest. The only way to stop the encroachment into areas we wanted clear was to dig a trench around the clump (approx 50cm) deep and fill with cement.
Alternatively a very thick plastic barrier ( minimum 30-50cm) along your fenceline would keep the bamboo coming into your yard.