Email signup

County’s running bamboo ordinance takes effect with potential fines

Bamboo spotted by the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax County property owners are officially required to contain running bamboo on their property — or face potential fines.

Effective as of Jan. 1, the county’s new running bamboo ordinance calls for property owners to get the invasive grass species under control and imposes civil penalties on property owners who let it “spread to adjacent properties or any public right-of-way.”

The ordinance was approved by the Board of Supervisors back in March 2022, along with a fine structure that includes $50 for the first complaint or violation, $200 for subsequent violations, and a $3,000 cap on fines over a 12-month period.

Officials have reiterated that staff will first seek to educate and allow for violations to be corrected voluntarily before imposing fines. When the issue went to a public hearing in February, several residents and supervisors expressed some concern about the financial implications of the fines.

In March, though, Fairfax County Director of Code Compliance Jack Weyant suggested fines would only be invoked for cases that have gone on for a year or longer.

Running bamboo is a fast-growing, invasive grass with an even more aggressive root system (rhizomes) that can spread underground up to 15 feet per year.

“Once planted, running bamboo can eventually take over yards and travel across property lines, creating issues for adjacent property owners and local jurisdictions,” Weyant told FFXnow. “Roots can push through brickwork, drains, cavity walls, patios, and exploit cracks or weaknesses in concrete.”

Weyant noted that the new ordinance “does not ban bamboo” but requires property owners to prevent it from growing on adjacent properties, including public property.

The county has set up a webpage to advise residents on the best methods to contain, prevent overgrowing, and dispose of bamboo.

Options include setting up a metal and plastic “bamboo root barrier” that deflects rhizomes back towards the bamboo owner’s property, encouraging the plants to grow vertically instead of spreading horizontally.

The county also suggests mowing bamboo often and using herbicides to prevent further growth. All cut bamboo should go in trash pick-up, not yard waste, per the county.

The complete removal of bamboo from a property is extremely difficult.

“Digging out bamboo requires heavy equipment and coordination with Virginia 811,” the website says.

In 2017, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law that let localities impose financial penalties on property owners who allow bamboo to run wild. However, Virginia still allows commercial sales, an issue that Fairfax County supervisors have previously said needs to be corrected by the state.

The county itself will also have to adhere to the new ordinance.

The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) manages about 204 acres of bamboo that draw 10 to 20 complaints a year from neighboring homeowners. FCPA removes two to three bamboo sites a year, but it’s expensive.

In April, the FCPA told FFXnow that a recent removal of about an acre of bamboo cost about $35,000, mostly due to herbicide treatment costs.

Recent Stories

Good Thursday evening, Fairfax County. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier…

A look at the most and least expensive townhouses sold in Fairfax County last month, March 2024.

Taim Mediterranean Kitchen in Reston has permanently closed just four months after its opening. The New York-based chain, known for its falafel, initially held a grand opening at 11692 Plaza…

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is asking the county’s General Assembly delegation to oppose Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed funding cuts to Metro in the state’s budget. During a board…

Unlike our competitors, Well-Paid Maids doesn’t clean your home with harsh chemicals. Instead, we handpick cleaning products rated “safest” by the Environmental Working Group, the leading rating organization regarding product safety.

The reason is threefold.

First, using safe cleaning products ensures toxic chemicals won’t leak into waterways or harm wildlife if disposed of improperly.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

There’s a reason Well-Paid Maids has hundreds of positive reviews from happy clients in the D.C. area.

The home cleaning company pays cleaners — who are W-2 employees — a living wage starting at $24 an hour. Plus, cleaners are offered benefits, including insurance, 24 paid days off a year, 100% employer-paid commuting costs and more.

Lexi Grant, an operations manager at Well-Paid Maids, said it best: “People deserve their work to be respected and recognized. When that happens, you love what you do, and you create the best results.”

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Dream, Design, Build: Home Expo 2024

Sponsored by ABW Appliances & Eden, join us for a one-of-a-kind Home Expo event on May 11th from 10AM to 4PM!

The DMV’s top experts — AKG Design Studio and GMJ Construction — are opening their doors to homeowners to

Ravel Dance Company presents The Sleeping Beauty at Capital One…

Be transported to the magical kingdom of Princess Aurora, where the wicked Carabosse casts a curse that dooms the Princess and her entire kingdom. Set to the spectacular Tchaikovsky score, this beloved classic will sweep you away with its beauty,

×

Subscribe to our mailing list