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Running Bamboo Property Encroachment

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Lunacioun

Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Long Island NY

During a winter storm this January, the 18 ft blowing/swaying bamboo from the neighbors property (grown on their side of the property line) partially removed the neutral from the electrical lines from the pole on the street in front of their property to our home. This caused an extensive and costly Homeowner's Insurance claim as 3/4's of everthing electrical in our home was fried before I managed to throw the main breaker and evacuate the home during the storm with my 2yr old, 8 month old and dog.

The fire dept came and stated the power company must reattach the electrical lines to the home and we would need a licensed electrician to assess the home before we could return. (This electrician was to be there when we restarted the power in case the wiring in the walls had melted and was to spark and cause a fire.) After 3 days we were finally able to return to the home and begin replacing everything that was lost. This was obviously extremely traumatic to my children and myself and I was informed by the electrician, that had I not been home on maternity leave and there to throw the main breaker, all the wiring would have eventually melted in the walls, gone on fire and burned the house down. At that time we were assured by the neighbor that the bamboo would be cut below the lines or removed.

Altho the bamboo height has been trimmed below the lines by the neighbor, since it is a type of running bamboo, it is now spreading like wildfire in its attempt to regrow. This means the bamboo has now jumped the property line and is now growing 11.65 feet inside on our property and along the foundation of our home. These new shoots are growing up through the FIOS lines and box that are currently mounted to the home right along side the house foundation and are also now growing up to and hanging over the cobblestones lining our new (3 year old) circular driveway.

I then sent a certified/return receipt letter (that was carbon copied to our home owners insurance company) stating that the bamboo has become a hazard, is encroaching and must be removed from our property and contained. The neighbor then stated he would NOT REMOVE all the bamboo as it would be too costly but would work to do what we requested on our side. Unfortunately altho we explained that the property line must be trenched and blocked with a 36" bamboo blocker the neighbor only CUT the bamboo on our property and put in a 6" gardening blocker.

Again, since the bamboo was cut and the rhizomes not removed, it is now growing worse then before and has returned. It is back everywhere it was before and more. A professional landscaper was called by myself for an estimate and I was informed it would cost roughly $4k for complete removal and a continuous Bamboo Blocker to be installed down our entire property line. This would not include the Value Loss to the Property for the sacrifice of all the full grown Red Maples, Rose of Sharons, Hydrangeas, Rose bushes, Hostas and various other Evergreen trees and bushes on our entire side of the property line in order to lower the cost of the bamboo removal and blocker to be installed. It also did not include any additional charges for the replacement and repair of the sprinkler lines that will be dug up during the bamboo removal since the rhizomes underground had now grown right up to the home foundation. The Landscaper did reiterate NOT to cut the bamboo as it would just push the rhizomes to send out more new shoots that could potentially manage their way into the foundation and basement or through the driveway.

We simply do not have the money to continue to pay for additional costs of this neighbor's encroaching and hazardous bamboo. Altho I have sent this estimate (certified return receipt) to the neighbor (and our home owners insurance co) along with a letter and pictures of the bamboo growth from the winter to date, I have received no response. We are considering small claims but I am simply so distressed about this I don't know where or how to proceed? Should I assume the best and email the neighbor politely asking how they'd like to proceed, AGAIN? Or skip trying to talk to them and take the time off from work to try a small claims (but am afraid the judge will just split the cost ending up with a $2k bill I can't pay after the $1k deductible we just paid in Jan)? Or should I contact a lawyer for help (who really I probably can't afford to pay either?)

In the interim the bamboo is growing in leaps and bounds. Perhaps once it compromises the foundation and our finished basement floods, I can have the Home Owners Ins companies fight it out? (kidding) In the meantime I am losing sleep and have become a nervous wreck. Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!
 


JustAPal00

Senior Member
To clear things up, the neighbors bamboo is on their property. The bamboo that is on your property is your bamboo. You are responsible for taking care of your bamboo. It was very nice of the neighbor to try to help you with your bamboo problem.

Are there any ordinances where you live that prohibit planting any tipe of spreading plant? Did the neighbor plant the bamboo? Are there any ordinances that prohibit planting any exotic plants?
 

FarmerJ

Senior Member
There are herbicides that are total kill type where it is absorbed by the plants into the roots and kills them from the roots. Unless your city / county has a ord about invasive plants there may not be much more you can do other than remove the parts of the invasive plants that are now on your property inc herbicides , digging out and and a deeper barrier that is just a couple inches into your side of the lot line. The storm damage was just that , storm damage act of nature. BTW did the electrician repair the ground wire for the house ? your ground must have been in failure at the time of the storm when the neutral wire was damaged and created a 220v loop.
 
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justalayman

Senior Member
first, smack your electrician for scaring you with BS about the wire in the wall melting. and yes, apparently I do know more about it than he does. Voltage does not cause heat, current does and the breakers would still trip when an excessive current flowed through them and thusly protect the wiring in the wall like they were designed to do.

what would happen did happen and that is it damaged equipment that was apparently on a multiwire branch circuit. end of story.

and that is damage caused by and act of God and as such, not the neighbors liability.


as to the bamboo; I disagree with the other folks. While typically when a plant grows onto your side of the property line, you then become an owner of that section of the plant. With something as invasive as bamboo, it goes beyond a simple argument of a plant crossing a property line. It comes down to the neighbors actions of planting such a known invasive species and failing to install proper guards to prevent the spread of the plant being negligent; Negligence that caused you damages.

So, rather than playing with estimates like you are and mix and matching whatever strikes your fancy at the moment. figure out what your actual damages are and send a demand letter. Along with that I would send a demand to the neighbor seeking to have him install proper guards to control the growth of the plant and keep it from spreading to your side.

then, if he fails to send money or fix the barrier, head to court. I would guess you are well beyond small claims so you will either have to accept the small claims limit or hire an attorney and go big time.
 

italyyy

Junior Member
help i have same problem am desperate..no laws yet help

What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Long Island NY

During a winter storm this January, the 18 ft blowing/swaying bamboo from the neighbors property (grown on their side of the property line) partially removed the neutral from the electrical lines from the pole on the street in front of their property to our home. This caused an extensive and costly Homeowner's Insurance claim as 3/4's of everthing electrical in our home was fried before I managed to throw the main breaker and evacuate the home during the storm with my 2yr old, 8 month old and dog.

The fire dept came and stated the power company must reattach the electrical lines to the home and we would need a licensed electrician to assess the home before we could return. (This electrician was to be there when we restarted the power in case the wiring in the walls had melted and was to spark and cause a fire.) After 3 days we were finally able to return to the home and begin replacing everything that was lost. This was obviously extremely traumatic to my children and myself and I was informed by the electrician, that had I not been home on maternity leave and there to throw the main breaker, all the wiring would have eventually melted in the walls, gone on fire and burned the house down. At that time we were assured by the neighbor that the bamboo would be cut below the lines or removed.

Altho the bamboo height has been trimmed below the lines by the neighbor, since it is a type of running bamboo, it is now spreading like wildfire in its attempt to regrow. This means the bamboo has now jumped the property line and is now growing 11.65 feet inside on our property and along the foundation of our home. These new shoots are growing up through the FIOS lines and box that are currently mounted to the home right along side the house foundation and are also now growing up to and hanging over the cobblestones lining our new (3 year old) circular driveway.

I then sent a certified/return receipt letter (that was carbon copied to our home owners insurance company) stating that the bamboo has become a hazard, is encroaching and must be removed from our property and contained. The neighbor then stated he would NOT REMOVE all the bamboo as it would be too costly but would work to do what we requested on our side. Unfortunately altho we explained that the property line must be trenched and blocked with a 36" bamboo blocker the neighbor only CUT the bamboo on our property and put in a 6" gardening blocker.

Again, since the bamboo was cut and the rhizomes not removed, it is now growing worse then before and has returned. It is back everywhere it was before and more. A professional landscaper was called by myself for an estimate and I was informed it would cost roughly $4k for complete removal and a continuous Bamboo Blocker to be installed down our entire property line. This would not include the Value Loss to the Property for the sacrifice of all the full grown Red Maples, Rose of Sharons, Hydrangeas, Rose bushes, Hostas and various other Evergreen trees and bushes on our entire side of the property line in order to lower the cost of the bamboo removal and blocker to be installed. It also did not include any additional charges for the replacement and repair of the sprinkler lines that will be dug up during the bamboo removal since the rhizomes underground had now grown right up to the home foundation. The Landscaper did reiterate NOT to cut the bamboo as it would just push the rhizomes to send out more new shoots that could potentially manage their way into the foundation and basement or through the driveway.

We simply do not have the money to continue to pay for additional costs of this neighbor's encroaching and hazardous bamboo. Altho I have sent this estimate (certified return receipt) to the neighbor (and our home owners insurance co) along with a letter and pictures of the bamboo growth from the winter to date, I have received no response. We are considering small claims but I am simply so distressed about this I don't know where or how to proceed? Should I assume the best and email the neighbor politely asking how they'd like to proceed, AGAIN? Or skip trying to talk to them and take the time off from work to try a small claims (but am afraid the judge will just split the cost ending up with a $2k bill I can't pay after the $1k deductible we just paid in Jan)? Or should I contact a lawyer for help (who really I probably can't afford to pay either?)

In the interim the bamboo is growing in leaps and bounds. Perhaps once it compromises the foundation and our finished basement floods, I can have the Home Owners Ins companies fight it out? (kidding) In the meantime I am losing sleep and have become a nervous wreck. Any help or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!
pls call me today 203 734 6344 I am in CONN
I have 7 residential properties in my neighborhood under
a huge running bamboo invasion. We own 3.
A new asphalt driveway is now being taken up by the
rhizomes. It has made it up to foundation and central A/C.
All flower beds are invaded. It is a few feet from septic and leaching.
Original planter of it refuses communication.
I am going to court but not sure what route to take.
He has ruined my land and gardens. I am so upset
I cannot tell you. Pls call me. Caryn
 

JustAPal00

Senior Member
I just read an article about killing bamboo. It says to cut the shoot and immediatly paint on herbacide. it must be done within 15 seconds or the sap will retreat and seal the cut. It says to keep repeating this to every shoot that appears. You must keep doing it to any new shoots that come up. Good luck.
 

drewguy

Member
While I don't think there is a lot of case law on invasive species, I suspect such litigation is the future.
I should sue my neighbor for all of the dandelions in his yard that blow into and seed my yard. I'm sick of weeding.

As noted above, the law is on your neighbor's side. The falling bamboo that hit the wires is your problem unless he knew it was going to happen--the same as for a tree. And the roots are your responsibility.

But how about suggesting to your neighbor that you split the cost of a real barrier? He wants to keep the bamboo (or at least avoid paying for its removal). You want to avoid problems from it. You can stick to your guns but you're not likely to win, just to have continued bad feelings. See what he says to splitting the cost of a barrier, on his side of the property line.

Then, in the spring, whenever you see a culm come up knock it off.

BTW, how did it get 11 feet onto your property? Were you sleeping? That usually takes a few years for it to run that far.
 

Lunacioun

Junior Member
as to the bamboo; I disagree with the other folks. While typically when a plant grows onto your side of the property line, you then become an owner of that section of the plant. With something as invasive as bamboo, it goes beyond a simple argument of a plant crossing a property line. It comes down to the neighbors actions of planting such a known invasive species and failing to install proper guards to prevent the spread of the plant being negligent; Negligence that caused you damages.

So, rather than playing with estimates like you are and mix and matching whatever strikes your fancy at the moment. figure out what your actual damages are and send a demand letter. Along with that I would send a demand to the neighbor seeking to have him install proper guards to control the growth of the plant and keep it from spreading to your side.

then, if he fails to send money or fix the barrier, head to court. I would guess you are well beyond small claims so you will either have to accept the small claims limit or hire an attorney and go big time.
In fact Justalayman, I did call the Town and ended up forwarded and forwarded by people at a loss as to how to help me, until I finally was put through to the Town Attorney. He stated that altho there is no prohibiting growing bamboo in this township (its just stated as "not recommended") he said that this was in fact a "perfect case for Nuisance". (Under the common law, persons in possession of real property are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their lands. If a neighbor interferes with that quiet enjoyment, either by creating smells, sounds, pollution or any other hazard that extends past the boundaries of the property, the affected party may make a claim in nuisance. A private nuisance is an interference with a person's enjoyment and use of his land. The law recognizes that landowners, or those in rightful possession of land, have the right to the unimpaired condition of the property and to reasonable comfort and convenience in its occupation.)

He said the continual property infringement of the bamboo would make for a perfect case in his opinion. That should I sue, the Judge would have to require the neighbor to contain his bamboo to his property and should that not occur that then fines would be enforced and could escalate to even jail time if still ignored. I was hoping to avoid the hiring of a lawyer and tackling this in such an aggressive manner considering I will have to continue living next to these people but that doesn't really seem to be a possibility any longer. Their answer as of this weekend is that they will try and help pay the cost of the removal at $100 per month until their HALF is paid. That will bring us about 2 years into the future.

I should sue my neighbor for all of the dandelions in his yard that blow into and seed my yard. I'm sick of weeding.

As noted above, the law is on your neighbor's side. The falling bamboo that hit the wires is your problem unless he knew it was going to happen--the same as for a tree. And the roots are your responsibility.

But how about suggesting to your neighbor that you split the cost of a real barrier? He wants to keep the bamboo (or at least avoid paying for its removal). You want to avoid problems from it. You can stick to your guns but you're not likely to win, just to have continued bad feelings. See what he says to splitting the cost of a barrier, on his side of the property line.

Then, in the spring, whenever you see a culm come up knock it off.

BTW, how did it get 11 feet onto your property? Were you sleeping? That usually takes a few years for it to run that far.
Drewguy, did you really think your immature comments were at all helpful? "Was I SLEEPING?"

The bamboo grew 11 feet onto my property IN LESS THEM ONE MONTH. All the shoots came up in a RUNNING line TOGETHER and at once. Since it is on the side where my 2 1/2 year old son and 1 year old daughter have their bedrooms and I was busy working a 40 hour work week, taking care of them and my fiancee who was having and recovering from double hernia surgery that same month I didn't notice the growth until I looked out my son's window and saw it half way up the side of the house along the foundation. Not that I should have to explain that when the bottom line is, THEIR bamboo is again COMING ONTO MY PROPERTY. Why should I have to be out there every month walking the perimeter of the property inspecting for more bamboo? And for the record, I have gone out there since and attempted to dig the rhizomes out myself (as I do with all my gardening and transplanting) however the roots underground are like one continuous branch that you can not even get under with a shovel. Again a 36" blocker and all the dirt dug down is what is required to get it out. Hence the $4k estimate. But thanks again for talking to me like I'm a moron, it was very helpful.
 

justalayman

Senior Member
Lunacioun;2610063]In fact Justalayman, I did call the Town and ended up forwarded and forwarded by people at a loss as to how to help me, until I finally was put through to the Town Attorney.
glad to hear there is an avenue of recourse.





Drewguy, did you really think your immature comments were at all helpful? "Was I SLEEPING?"

The bamboo grew 11 feet onto my property IN LESS THEM ONE MONTH. All the shoots came up in a RUNNING line TOGETHER and at once.
while the sleeping comment might have been a bit harsh, I was thinking something similar myself. I know bamboo can grow quite quickly but this sounds like an unusually fast growing species and the weather must be perfect for it. I do remember bamboo at my g-ma's house where you could darn near watch it grow though. It is an amazing plant.




any idea the species? I have a few enemies I would love to throw some rhizomes into their yard in the middle of the night or plant them in an inconspicuous spot.:eek:

and to the neighbor not being able to pay much: hand him a shovel and let him go to town digging out the rhizomes in your yard. :p

I have no idea if justapals direction was accurate but it sure sounds like it's worth a shot:

I just read an article about killing bamboo. It says to cut the shoot and immediatly paint on herbacide. it must be done within 15 seconds or the sap will retreat and seal the cut. It says to keep repeating this to every shoot that appears. You must keep doing it to any new shoots that come up. Good luck.
 

DDDDDD

Member
I'm from Long Island and there are indeed bamboos that are so invasive and quickly spread, they say it can reach inside and snatch your children if you're not careful. Think "kudzu."

In addition, a 36" deep barrier may not be sufficient, as rhinzomes can sometimes tunnel under, as well as grow OVER a barrier and back into the ground.

Not for nothing, but since the neighbor is having financial difficulties, the best bet is to invest in a few gallons of round-up or whatever is a 1-year total kill and dump it all over ALL the bamboo.

BTW... some people plant bamboo because they want/need a very quick growing, cheap, tall "screen." IS there anything more to this story as to what this neighbor could possibly be wanting to screen out?
 

jim2798

Junior Member
On the electrical issue.....I agree that they may have been overly dramatic, but it is certainly true that an open neutral from the street is extremely dangerous, and can cause seriously bad things to happen in your house. It is likely that the circuit breakers will protect the wires for the most part, but if you have multiwire branches, which is common, it is possible for a branch neutral line to be overloaded. Sounds like the erred on the side of caution and all is well.
 

DDDDDD

Member
I agree Jim. I'm an electrician in NYC. 2 120 v multiwire branch circuits will turn into 1 circuit with 240 volts in series across them when the utility neutral is lost. The lesser loaded circuit will see most of this overvoltage, and the higher loaded circuit will see an undervoltage, and either of these conditions can cause fire. But mainly from the lights or appliances utilizing the power, not the actual circuit wires themselves.

Most indoor cable is rated at 600v.
 

italyyy

Junior Member
Phyllostachys Running Bamboo....Help !!!

I am preparing my complaint to sue: pro se plaintiff

I am confused....is ENCROACHMENT considered a COUNT?
Or is that part of trespass ??

I know that so far I have : Count 1 : Nuisance
Count 2 : Trespass
Count 3 : Negligence
Count 4: Grass Ordinance violation
Count 5 : Tree Ordinance: applies
any woody vegetation /nuisance
must be abated. violation
I am confused with COUNTS.
The running bamboo here is in the advanced stage of rhizome invasion.
Remedy must be abatement.
Pls feel free to contact me. This is a very difficult case
but I have researched this non-native invasive, and it is hard to believe
a plant like this exists ! A prehistoric grass that evolved to survive in the
forest, is what we are dealing with. It is unregulated here, but
stricly regulated in Tokyo and Australia from being plugged in the
ground. I feel we need regulation fast, as they are freely
selling it on EBAY and Craigslist. The know to call it
Phyllostachys Aurea and they claim great screen, easily contained.
On Ebay you get 5 rhizomes for $40.00 ! We need legislation fast !!!!
I would appreciate any help. The fact that all the damage is underground
makes it hard for people to grasp.
 

Kiawah

Senior Member
On Ebay you get 5 rhizomes for $40.00
Maybe you should thank your neighbor, and start selling!

Other than that, I'd have a constant blanket of Triox down, prevents growth for up to a year.
 
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