Sag Harbor Trustees Withdraw Bamboo Ban

Posted on 16 December 2011

Following both praise and criticism by Sag Harbor residents over a proposed law that would have banned bamboo in the village, on Tuesday night the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees voted to withdraw the legislation from consideration.

“I have been talking to different people and I think the best thing to do is to advise people not to plant invasive species,” said trustee Robby Stein, first suggesting the proposed legislation be tabled and then suggesting it be withdrawn completely.

The rest of the village board supported Stein unanimously, including Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride.

The legislation was originally introduced in September after the village board heard the pleas of resident Pat Field this summer. Field said she has done almost everything imaginable in an effort to kill bamboo spreading onto her Madison Street property from a neighbor’s yard. The bamboo, said Field, was threatening her very home.

Originally, the legislation targeted all invasive species of plants, but was quickly scaled back to address only bamboo. According to the last version of the draft law, if adopted residents would not have been allowed to have bamboo “planted, maintained or otherwise permitted to exist within 10-feet of any property line, street, sidewalk or public right of way.”

However, the legislation was criticized by some in the village — including homeowners facing a similar battle as Field — as being too far reaching for the local municipality, and potentially costly for village residents who bought properties that already contained bamboo.

“I think the discussion we have had was  a great discussion, but it showed clearly this is a neighbor to neighbor issue and the bigger issue here is there are residents who have bamboo and have done everything right,” said Mayor Gilbride. “It is the encroachment onto neighbor’s properties that really needs to be addressed.”

Prior to the meeting, Mayor Gilbride said he would ask Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. to explore what options the village has to ensure property owners are properly maintaining their bamboo and not negatively impacting their neighbors.

Village to Take Closer Look at Municipal Building

Following a special Sag Harbor Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, December 8, the village has agreed to spend $15,000 to explore the structural integrity of the Municipal Building on Main Street.

According to Mayor Gilbride, the goal is to ascertain whether the third and fourth floors of the building — now used for solely storage and not open to the public — could be made accessible through an elevator in the building.

Currently, the Municipal Building has a lift installed to help disabled residents gain access to the second floor, which houses the village justice court, building department, main meeting room and the mayor’s office.

While much depends on what this structural assessment shows, Mayor Gilbride said it has long been a dream of his to have the third floor opened up for use by village government. An elevator is required by law for the village to place any entity needed by residents on the third floor.

Mayor Gilbride said he envisions moving the building department to the third floor, if an elevator could be installed, so that department would have more space in which to work. A mayor’s office and conference room for the village boards could also be carved out of that space, he added.

The village’s justice court has largely taken up most of the office space traditionally used as the conference room, as well as the mayor’s office.

According to Superintendent of Public Works Dee Yardley, he will work with engineers to first try and locate the original schematics for the Municipal Building, which dates back to at least 1850, he said.

After that, ascertaining the possibilities for the Municipal Building should happen rather quickly, said Yardley.

“These are all new thoughts,” cautioned Mayor Gilbride. “The toughest part will be seeing if we can get an elevator in here at all.”

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58 Responses to “Sag Harbor Trustees Withdraw Bamboo Ban”

  1. Glad to see they came up with a reasonable solution! As a bamboo grower I know it’s not a “plant it and forget it” plant, and if it’s ignored for even a couple of years it can quickly become a big problem.

    It’s not too difficult to keep it in check though — it requires yearly maintenance (cutting the rhizomes with a spade to keep it from spreading) that must be done every single year.

    Many of us find it to be worth the effort though, and applaud the Board’s decision.

  2. Concerned says:

    Alan, I have to strongly disagree with you. You are one of the very few who even knows a barrier is needed. Most do not. Most of the yellow groove Phyllostachys is invading. Barriers fail fast. Even wikipedia states 40 and 60ml do not hold back a mature grove. The barrier must be installed to specification, or it will fail faster. What happens when you sell your home ? Where is everyone dumping the rhizomes. Any fragment is active and will start an infestation. These must be burned. It only takes one escaped rhizome to invade the neighborhood. This is noxious destructive invasive running bamboo. This is a highly unsuitable plant for a property line planting. When it invades, the horse is already out of the barn. Once it gets under structures, almost impossible to eradicate. So many towns have passed ordinances in the last few months, that I do believe Sag Harbor made a huge mistake, without doing enough research. When the grove is in year 15 to 20 good luck, dont say you were not warned. This invasive is being sold on ebay and craigslist, no barrier information…sorry Alan..when you are wrong you are wrong.
    USDA writes Phyllostachys would be their worst if it produced seed. It rapidly forms mono-culture that completely excludes other plant species.South Carolina declares it a severe threat . It cannot even be shipped into Hawaii, nor planted in the ground in Tokyo, because it knows no property lines. It is highly noxious and destructive to gas lines, sewers, septics, foundations, pool, driveways. The evidence is everyplace online. Google :invasive bamboo ordinance, and read. All new. Alan, you are one in a million, and you are dead wrong. I strongly urge Sag Harbor to reaccess the damage and stigma to the towns land, as this is almost impossible to eradicate once established. It will escape into the towns infrastructure and forest , and wetlands. This is a new problem, and a very serious one. The exponential rate of growth is more aggressive each successive year, and is relentless on a mature grove.

  3. Carol Merritt says:

    I don’t know why there is so much debate about this horrible plant. It reminds me of a story I once read about men who talked incessently in an attempt to solve their problem. They talked so much they never took any action at all. Just regulate the plant! If those who already have planted it are maintaining it correctly then there is no problem…..right? Is it ok to allow a person to destroy his neighbor’s property? What is more important here; protection of the residential properties or the right to plant whatever you wish. Maybe we should all have the right to put up chcken coops on our residential properties.

  4. Berbalang says:

    Concerned seems to be confusing bamboo with japanese knotweed and then launches into a long rant about the evils of bamboo today. Truth is bamboo has no supernatural powers and is certainly not going to rampage across the countryside. The very fact that the U.S. has a native species of bamboo that has been wiped out in most areas it used to be common in, ought to be a clue that what Concerned was spewing was B.S.

  5. Concerned says:

    Berbalang…you also need to read up.

    Phyllostachys aureosulcata is not Japanese Knotweed.
    It is giant cold hardy timber bamboo aka :yellow groove
    and the most aggressive runner of the genus Phyllostachys.
    This is cold hardy meaning temperate and -15 below.
    This is the invasive bamboo causing the encroachments and damage.

    It is highly invasive and destructive .
    This forum is not the place to educate, the information
    is on and many other data bases.
    Berbalang please do not add to the ignorance
    on the damages of running bamboo.

  6. Berbalang says:

    I see Concerned has decided this is the perfect Forum to misinform and spread falsehoods. Concerned seems to like to quote a few facts and interweave them with half-truths in order to try and get people to believe falsehoods to suit her/his own agenda.

    Truth is if a grove is cut down at ground level and the area is mowed once a week, the grove will die.

    Truth is that if a rhizome is dug up and allowed to dry out, it will die and rot.

    Truth is if the local wildlife discovers that parts of the bamboo are edible, they will eat it. Squirrels have been known to destroy groves by eating all the new shoots and voles have been known to eat all the buds on the underground rhizomes.

    Truth is if the bamboo flowers and sets seed, the local wildlife will eat most of them. Bamboo seed will quickly lose fertility if it is not planted.

    Truth is trees are far more destructive to gas lines, sewers, septics, foundations, pool, driveways, etc. than bamboo can ever be.

    For the record, at one time I did have Phyllostachys aureosulcata (Yellow Groove) bamboo growing up against the foundation of the house. I decided to grow something else there so I cut it down and kept the area mowed. It is gone and it did nothing to the foundation while it was there.

  7. Steve Lau says:

    Concerned, have you ever grown yellow groove bamboo yourself?

    I have this species of bamboo and I know that it cannot grow from tiny fragments since rhizomes require photosynthesis from existing culms, or at least a good root system to form a small shoot. When you cut off the connection of a rhizome to its energy source, that section will die off so you can do annual rhizome pruning since rhizomes only grow down to 8 inches at max which doesn’t require barriers. Also bamboos only flower once every few hundred years, and their seeds require specific conditions in order to germinate and thrive so they don’t grow nearly as easily as maple seedlings. The bamboo also doesn’t grow deep enough to damage sewer lines or septics.

    Also as mentioned earlier bamboo is actually very easy to eradicate. If all the culms are lopped to the ground level and the entire area gets mowed over and over, the bamboo will run out of energy in the same year since they need foliage in order to stay alive. They are nothing like japanese knotweed which will try to keep sprouting up year after year in the lawn because bamboo rhizomes can’t stay alive that long without a source of energy.

  8. Invasive Running Bamboo says:

    Reading these few will provide enough scientific facts showing that
    Phyllostachys is a highly unsuitable plant for a property line.
    Many towns are now passing laws ,as damage reports are coming in due to invasions to neighboring properties. Home inspectors are also now
    advising to walk away from a sale if the property has a running bamboo problem, as once it gets under structures almost impossible to eradicate.

  9. Invasive Running Bamboo says:


  10. Phyllostachys trespass says:

    Here is the actual MODEL ordinance…easy & necessary. Rutledge passed it
    Hundreds of people under invasion now, ordinances passing rapidly.
    In Smithtown the bamboo is NOW out. ** 10 foot set back WORKS.*****
    Phyllostachys is a highly unsuitable plant for a property line,& when one finds out they should have used a barrier ( installed to specification and maintained annually ) it is too late for the neighbors. Damage to all landscape and structures, roots of steel…quoted from USDA. To all the readers here I have 3 properties under invasion
    & know this is out of a horror film. More aggressive each year, and by year 15 to 20..just relentless. Research is lacking in the USA, that is changing very fast now. Ebay selling rhizome packs $40.00 says mow where you dont want it. Craigslist and Free cycle too…need ordinance to protect the property owners and public land . It is escaping now in a big way into our forests and wetlands.This is fact. Take a look, and help your town out with this..please: excellent model, this is the one recommended now ..I can attest it is perfectly written. Notice it even says barrier must enclose the entire grove…otherwise it still invade.
    Barriers all eventually fail in the long run, especially when the rhizomes are not pruned, also if not installed on an angle the rhizome will hit and dive down, can go 4 feet and up..will go under tree roots and rock..when it invades..not something the typical homeowner can handle after it invades..I am living this now, along with others is destructive and kills everything as it invades.

  11. Phyllostachys trespass says:

    There are so many, here is another case people think this is
    a good way to block out the neighbors.

    Phyllostachys is an alien invasive & is non-indigenous to the USA.
    It is noxious & destructive, not a plant to plant on a property line.
    It will trespass and takeover land fast. Very hard to eradicate, takes years of diligence on missed fragments. If cut it shoots up over night again. Not true you can just mow it. Eradication is another subject.
    Best to backhoe the mother, and then get as many rhizomes out as you can.
    Follow up persistently on resprouts for several years. If it invades under structures it will be so much harder. The longer you wait the harder it is . 6 tiny plants ( Phyllostachys aureosulcata -yellow groove)
    planted in 1997, are now a 35 feet high by 90 wide stand invading 4 properties approaching my septic field now. 7 addresses in my neighborhood have it as the originator shared rhizomes down the street as well.We are all cutting it daily at 3 houses, it keeps coming back up daily, we are on year 3 and the rhizomes still have energy. Took up driveway and sidewalk here. Invaded under my central a/c unit !Very hard to eradicate, backhoe mother is best and then follow up on missed rhizome by removal or cutting every other day as they shoot for several years. Can try chemical in conjunction with this but runoff will kill all your desirable plants and if on a well like we are you will be drinking it. Chemicals do not translocate to the rhizomes vey well, and even if you thwart a rhizome it will just regenerate back from your neighbors yard. Remember its all one organism.Hiroshima bomb did not kill it, flourished 3 days later, only living plant. Backhoe mother plant and remove as much rhizome as possible, do this by hand if you can..its hard..then cut every resprout almost needs to starve and not have one leaf to photosynthesis the sugar. It has the fastest rate of photosynthesis, as compared to other plants I have read.This is a prehistoric grass that evolved in the forest 40 million years ago, and it is also the fastest growing woody grass on earth. It is highly invasive and noxious and will takeover acres rapidly. These are the facts to understand what you are dealing with. You will not know until the grove is mature, as it starts out very slow in the first 3 to 5 year 10 -12 its bad, and then after that it is unbearable…you absolutely cannot sell your land without disclosing it ! Home Inspectors are all online now and they are finding out, advising walk away from a sale , as its almost impossible to get rid of it once it invades. A judge did rule PUNITIVE DAMAGES in California on a case, because a real estate agent tried to sell his property while the plant was dormant, and he was held by the court to a higher standard . This information is online. In May the people who bought the house couldn’t even let their dog out…all spikes (culms)
    very pointy and sharp all through the property .

  12. Berbalang says:

    Concerned/Invasive Running Bamboo/Phyllostachys trespass/Sockpuppet, why are you so desperate to steer people into doing what would make the bamboo a problem and not do what it takes to control or eliminate it. You seem to have made it your life’s work to spread disinformation for your own purposes rather than try and get at the truth.

  13. Need ordinances says:×1024/0001072.jpg

    bear in mind in the North east it is mostly Phyllostachys: yellow groove worst. Very cold hardy, taller, non-native invasive .roots of steel ..rhizomes are strong & they will damage structures as they invade.
    See exact words above link.

  14. Steve Lau says:

    If you check out this website, there is someone that can grow hundreds of groves of bamboo and control every single one of them and you can ask him how he does it, but with 4 years of growing several species of bamboo myself (30+species) I’ve never found them hard to control.

    A grove can be almost eliminated if all the culms are cut down right after shooting season as there will be enough energy to put out perhaps pencil sized survival shoots at best, but the grove can be mowed for a few weeks and the entire network of rhizomes will run out of energy.

    What’s your objective in trying to mis-inform people about this wonderful plant by leaving comments under many different user names?

  15. Wrong info above. says:

    Above poster is incorrect.

    Phyllostachys . The fact is in China where it is native they do not plant it in the ground. They are aware of its invasiveness.
    This is grown on plantations, not in urban areas.

    Hawaii does not allow shipments of Phyllostachys in.
    Australia, for containers only. All Phyllostachys sold has a sticker affixed to it stating this. The Chinese scientists write they want to get the word out to the eastern states, but most people now know the difference between clumping bamboo and running bamboo.(Phyllostachys)
    Read below, this is here:

    I have 15 years experience with this on my land and know that if you backhoe it out and miss pieces of rhizome, the bamboo keeps coming back.
    Some property here we cut it every day and it keeps coming up over night. The rhizome takes many years to run out of energy. They shoot up inside hedges and hide, you do not know they are there until winter, and they are still invading. The pencil thin shoots above poster mentions that come up after cutting are very pointy and sharp, these have pierced a new asphalt driveway here. Lifted and cracked it. Same with the sidewalk, even though 3 years of cut starve used on all of it, in yr 3 it keeps coming up. Three houses invaded. Not a few weeks to do like the above poster writes. Please read up. The information is out already. I am speaking from my 15 yrs of experience.
    It is slow to grow in the first few years, it creeps, and then in gets going and leaps, and invades rapidly. More aggressive each successive year. Landscapers do not want to sell it as they can be liable. Barriers fail in the long run. Most reputable landscapers would never sell Phyllostachys to the unsuspecting public. Above poster really needs to read up.

  16. Barriers did not work here says:

    The Alletto’s tried 40 ml, and 60 ml both failed…look at what a mature invasive bamboo stand looks like here..this is 20 years old..and all the side neighbors there were also invaded. The ordinance Passed in August 2011, and the bamboo now has been removed , all of what is shown here in the video.The 10 foot set back from property line /with barrier beyond the 10 feet was effective. No part of the plant above or below ground in the 10 foot set back.They had damages, and could not sell their homes here.

  17. Sellers making FALSE statements here,PROOF below says:

    Steve Lau: **** seller see blog below

    scroll to COMMENT NO.#19 by Berbalang *

  18. Sellers making FALSE statements here,PROOF below says:

    Fact is Phyllostachys has escaped to natural area’s
    extensively in all of the North Eastern States.
    Phyllostachys scan spread by means of water. We have one
    colonization that has with photos.

    Property owners are rapidly reporting damage to assets, as ordinances are passing from town to town.
    Phyllostachys is a highly unsuitable plant for urban area’s.

    Read below what Steve Janoski writes:

  19. Sellers are commenting here ! says:


  20. wrong info being given to the public says:

    ***Scroll to comment no.19, *****This person states :
    Bamboo doesnt really spread into native areas’s WRONG

    This is incorrect info to the public.
    This is a commentor from above** that is shown writing wrong information on Phyllostahcys.

  21. wrong info being given to the public says:

    please read: This is invasive running bamboo Phyllostachys

  22. do not plant running bamboo says:

    This is the TRUTH, these are research papers.

    Phyllostachys is not recommended in the ground.
    This is a highly unsuitable plant for urban areas
    even in China where it is native Phyllostachys is only grown
    in containers. They are fully aware of its invasiveness.
    The public needs to know this is running bamboo
    and yellow groove is the most aggressive .(destructive) Phyllostachys spp.

  23. Sellers are commenting on this forum ** says:

    Appears ** Sellers **are posting information in the comments section.

  24. Bamboo Lover says:

    After being cut it sprouts back overnight? Patently false! Why do you feel the need to lie to make your point? I guess it’s because you have no idea what you are talking about!

  25. Video says:!/news/weird/Bamboo-Battle-in-Pa–Town/127904308

    *** Above Video *** People speak , and yes it does sprout over night when cut. It does this for years , even after all of it is cut. This is the fastest growing plant , and it is a non-native invasive.


  26. Video says:

    Sorry try this link:

    Video people speak : non-native invasive destructive!/news/weird/Bamboo-Battle-in-Pa–Town/127904308

  27. M says:

    North America is home to 3 different species of Bamboo. Arundinaria gigantea, Arudinaria tecta and Arundinaria appalachiana. These species where dominant natives throughout the eastern continental United States, until at least the 1860s when they where burnt for more farmland. If you ever looked at a climate map you would notice that the United States shares the same Koeppen Climate Classification has China and Japan. Humid continental in the northern latitudes and humid subtropical in the southern latitudes, both of which are ideal bamboo growing climate types.

    In closing trolling because you hate what you don’t understand is a rather sad state to be in. I’d suggest you read up on Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), greenbrier (Smilax), giant cane (Arundo donax), and Kudzu (Pueraria lobata). All of these species will survive burning, grow from root cuttings, and set seed prolifically. Some of these species even look superficially like bamboo. All are unwelcome visitors in peoples yards.


  28. M is very Confused: says:

    We are specifically speaking about Phyllostachys . This is giant
    cold hardy timber bamboo . This is for building not for property lines.
    It is non-indigenous to our continent and has NO predators. This is a
    non-native aggressive and destructive alien invader. We are not talking about the other bamboo in the world. There are many, and some yes that are native. That is ***irrelevant to what we are referring to here. This is not the place to educate on the difference between Japanese Knotweed and temperate timber bamboo Phyllostachys. Yellow Groove:common name for
    Phyllostachys Aureosulcata: introduced in 1907 , not the 1800′s.
    Introduced in Savannah, GA -F.N.Meyer McClure type specimen in 1945 .So most of the research is under aurea/ golden bamboo ..they are almost the same, except yellow groove is taller and more cold hardy. All the invasions here are mostly yellow groove. This is the most destructive
    running bamboo. They do not plant this in urban areas where it is native, as they know of its invasiveness. In China they use this on plantations only.This invasive will choke out all native plants rapidly and destroy. This is noxious and highly unsuitable for urban plantings. This why the laws are passing so fast, property is being destroyed.Kudzu also was introduced through a plant station back then as most of the invasives at that time were. The important thing is to have laws to protect others property. DO NOT PLANT RUNNING BAMBOO

  29. Phyllostachys Invasive says:

    Big problem now along the Eastern USA

    Lets hope this will soon be on the: DO NOT SELL LIST :

    Property owners all over New York, and the eastern states
    cannot sell their land. Buyers are backing out.
    This condition of the soil must be disclosed. ( rhizomes )
    The wetlands and rivers are at risk, as it travels on water
    during storms from broken pieces . It will seed, eventually.
    ( Gregarious seeding )

  30. Booking says:

    You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Why do you think there are dozens of bamboo nurseries across the US? Why do you think there are forums and sites all over the internet on how to grow bamboo?

    You’re not fooling anyone.

  31. must disclose when selling says:

    Wrong. The recommendation is DO NOT PLANT – Phyllostachys

    Phyllostachys spp. is an alien invasive , not native to our
    continent. The information is widespread and easily available online.

    USDA writes : If it seeded would be their worst.

    Destructive – rapidly takes over an area

  32. Barbalang says:

    This discussion has been hit by a plague of sock puppets in an attempt to demonize bamboo. It is the type of tactic used by the saddest of internet cranks.

  33. Steve Lau says:

    This the same guy posting with 20 different names whose trying to demonize bamboo. He’s even trying to attack me by going onto my website, and picking on a blog which shows some of the bamboos I have sold which I believe to be very childish and sad. I do sell bamboos during the growing season and it’s something I do with pride since I’m a collector with 30+ species of bamboo. I also make sure I get out the information on how to get bamboos to thrive, how to keep them under control, etc.

    If he has checked out my website, he should have also been able to see that multiple bamboos, even the (phyllostachys aureosulcata) which he has been specifically attacking are growing in the ground with no barriers and clearly under control because as I stated earlier, bamboo rhizomes cannot survive very long without being attached to a source of energy (culms/foliage).

    I agree that this guy needs to get a life instead of trolling on an article and attacking everyone else with lies about bamboo.

  34. Phyllostachys Invasive says:

    Phyllostachys is the bamboo we are * speaking of.
    This is temperate Invasive running bamboo.

    It is Giant cold hardy timber bamboo. Takes years of cutting to
    exhaust the rhizome, and that is only if it is all on one property.
    It re-shoots over night , and does not die easily as stated above.

  35. Phyllostachys Invasive says:

    This is an invasion of Phyllostachys yellow groove .
    The entire street is under invasion now in New York.
    They cannot sell their homes.
    This is non-native invasive running bamboo.(destructive,noxious)


  36. Barbalang says:

    At that stage of growth a lawnmower would easily cut them down or break them off. You are scare mongering and want to spread ignorance has fact in order to support a personal agenda or grudge! There are simple ways to deal with bamboo, but YOU don’t want people to know them! Instead you want misinformation to be spread in order to create a problem so you can go “I told you it was a problem!”

    Your tactics are those of the saddest of internet cranks, such as Fred Cherry.

  37. Phyllostachys Invasive says:

    selling major “Phyllostachys aureosulcata “yellow groove to the
    unsuspecting public online. says it has come to his attention
    the bamboo is yellow groove- but no mention it is a running bamboo ?

    5th paragraph up from the bottom is : SAME SELLER -Steve Lau

    this add says the gift that keeps on giving. This is an amazing online
    ad for rhizomes with free shipping all yellow groove..he says they are from the mother plant in THAILAND ?

  38. Steve Lau says:

    Wow, I can’t believe this internet troll also known as (Caryn Rickel) is still putting up this BS and claiming to be an invasive bamboo specialist just because of a peronal grudge and revenge against a neighbor.

    This is simply a childish and cowardly act. You’re even deleting my posts and attack me because I have pride in growing bamboo and sharing my passion with others. You even accused a random seller putting them in the spotlight just because they thanked me for identifying their bamboo to be yellow groove.

    You basically attack everyone who speaks of the truth starting with my gardening friend Alan just because he knew what he was talking about. Yes he grows even more bamboos than me and has sold it too and like myself, he also has many years of bamboo experience in growing bamboo and keeping in check as well as growing a whole array of different plants.


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