Is it legal to grow bamboo plants in the UK?

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 lists nearly 40 non-native invasive plants. They must not be planted in gardens or caused to grow in the wild.

Other laws briefly stated in this post cover tall hedges and property damages.

laws about growing bamboo in the UK

Tall hedges

The Anti-social Behaviour Act, 2003, covers tall hedges but it does not cover garden plant invasion. 

Property damages

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, 2014 enables local authorities and police to issue community protection notices where plants cause damage to neighbours’ gardens and properties. 

The protection notice can be issued when it is shown beyond doubt that the individual in question has persistently acted in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those around them.

Is bamboo legal to grow in the UK?

Currently, no specific legislation covers the sale and planting of bamboo plants in the UK.

The UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Updated 11 December 2014, now the Guidance to Invasive Non-native Plants) does not classify bamboo plants as an invasive species.

Not all bamboo plants are invasive

Of the two varieties, the clumping bamboo plants are non-invasive whereas some running bamboo plants are invasive. 

Black Bamboo, Scottish Bamboo and Phyllostachys aurea are running bamboo plants but behave like clumping bamboo in cooler climates. 

Running bamboo options

Choose the clump-forming bambooBlack Bamboo, Scottish Bamboo or Phyllostachys aurea.

These bamboo plants have attractive stems and evergreen foliage.

 They are good for privacy screening.

Use root barriers to grow running bamboo

Running bamboo rhizomes have the potential to damage built-up areas and cross garden boundaries.

Grow bamboo plants in barriers. This is the best way to grow bamboo screens and hedges

Here are some ideas for bamboo root/rhizome barriers when growing running bamboo.

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