If you have been following the Madison Borough Council and Health Department conversations concerning bamboo, then you have heard how several Madison property owners have been terribly impacted by the encroachment of neighbors’ bamboo onto their properties.

Bamboo is an invasive, non-native species. When planted here in NJ, it spreads like wildfire, crowding out indigenous species of plants and animals, and causing serious structural damage to any and all structures in its path. It does not belong in Madison, NJ!

Although the Health Department has drafted an ordinance to restrict bamboo here in Madison, the proposed ordinance is not strong enough. 

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The proposed ordinance does not ban future planting of an invasive species “running bamboo”.  It requires only a 2-foot buffer. Bamboo laughs at the thought of a mere 2-foot buffer! Rhizomes (the root system of running bamboo) spread approximately 15-29 feet in one season. 

Running bamboo cannot be contained. Barriers will fail over time. The root system which is found in running bamboo expands horizontally making the plant difficult to maintain and more likely to cause damage to surrounding areas.

Most neighboring towns have passed ordinances that require a 10 foot barrier to help mitigate the destructive invasive spread per season. 

More importantly, they have totally banned all future planting of invasive species such as “running bamboo.”

I ask the Borough Council and Health Dept Officials to please consider banning “running bamboo” going forward. Bamboo damage has already burdened residents with costly property repairs which include: driveway repairs, foundations, retaining walls, sidewalks, pipes and damaging the ecosystem of other non invasive trees and plants.

Without containment, destruction will continue, and it will impact more and more Madison properties each year. Bamboo plantings have already decreased the property value for several Madison properties. Neighbor relations have suffered also, as stressed-out neighbors battle over these invasions and the consequent financial burdens associated with property repair and remediation.

On Nov 21st, there will be another public hearing on the pending Bamboo Ordinance for Madison.  As drafted, the proposed ordinance will not protect our indigenous species or our Madison property owners from the certain damage that bamboo will continue to inflict on the ecosystem and properties in our borough.

Please consider attending the Nov 21st Health Department meeting to help promote a 10 foot buffer barrier for existing bamboo and to ban future planting of invasive species such as Running Bamboo.

Terry Romano

West Lane, Madison