Bamboo Battle Brewing In Seymour

An Edgehill Terrace resident told the Board of Selectmen Tuesday that her yard has been ruined by her neighbor’s bamboo trees.

“This is the worst of the worst of invasive, non-native plants,” said Caryn Rickel.

Rickel showed the Selectmen a root ball she had dug up and said the running bamboo her neighbor planted in 1994 is spreading everywhere. She wanted the Selectmen to create a local law prohibiting people from growing invasive plants.

Running bamboo is not on the state’s list of invasive plants, but it can grow vigorously if left unchecked.

“It can grow two feet in one day,” she told the Board of Selectmen.

First Selectman Paul Roy said the matter is a dispute between neighbors.

“Our zoning enforcement officer and blight officials have checked into the issue. The town does not have any regulations concerning this plant and it is not on the state’s list of invasive plants. The zoning enforcement officer has checked all sources for information on the plant and it is not something illegal so at this point it would seem to be a private matter, “ Roy said.

Rickel has filed a civil lawsuit against her neighbor, Michael and Roberta Komaromi, who she said planted the bamboo.

The Komaromis have an unpublished telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

The law firm that represents the family — Loughlin Fitzgerald in Wallingford — declined to comment Wednesday.

However, the lawsuit states the bamboo has snaked its way into three properties.

“The hair roots and rhizomes are every place and extend approx 80 feet along my property lines,” Rickel writes in her lawsuit. “My land has been ruined by this planting . . .”

What began as what looked like six cornstalks has turned into a nightmare, the lawsuit states. The bamboo is 40-feet tall in spots, Rickel said.

Rickel claims that her neighbor planted the bamboo without the required underground plastic barrier. She claimed he attempted to install a barrier several months ago, but it was too late as the root systems have overtaken her property.

She has also contacted state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who wrote a letter in August to the University of Connecticut’s Invasive Plants Council asking the group to consider adding running bamboo trees to the invasive species list.

Rickel is seeking an unspecified amount of damages in her lawsuit.

The Komaromis have filed for a motion to dismiss the case, partly on grounds that there is no law or regulation against the purchase and planting of running Bamboo.

The court has not decided on the motion.


posted by: ValleyGuy42 on December 9, 2010  11:57am

Don’t sue each other, just get a Panda bear to eat back the excess…...

posted by: superbus on December 10, 2010  3:04am

This borders on petty gossip. What a silly, ridiculous lawsuit by what seems to be a silly, petty person.

posted by: javaandjazz on December 10, 2010  5:07am

They may not have violated any laws but what happened to respecting someone else’s property??????? They should pay to clean up all of the bamboo on everyone;s property that it’s affecting!

posted by: seymour on December 10, 2010  5:01pm

Phyllostachys - Golden Running Bamboo
  It is listed on 8 states invasives, with
Maryland just adding it effective 10-1-2010.
  This is banned in Tokyo and Australia
from being planted in the ground. There are
2 types of bamboo…Clumping Bamboo - which is non invasive, and Running Bamboo -invasive.
This Golden Running Bamboo is the worst one, as it is destructive underground and spreads
at an astonishing rate. Backhoe work to remove, and if you miss any piece of rhizome it will just recolonize. Many towns have banned this already…it will ruin foundations,septic and leaching fields, driveways etc. Landscape and hardscape will be taken over quickly.It resists all
herbicide, and kills everything as it spreads
Underground via strong as steel rhizomes.

posted by: Scargo on December 10, 2010  6:50pm

Careless use of invasive plants should not happen or be allowed.
Who does not know about bamboo? And yes, there are some varieties that are controllable and don’t spread like wildfire.
Whether a law exists or has been broken or not, they should be held accountable for removal and damages. I think bamboo seeks out water, so septic systems and any water source is at risk of being invaded by the roots.
Perhaps there is a systemic poison that will kill it…

Would a neighbor be allowed (by law), to come on your property and plant anything (whether it’s an invasive plant or not), without your permission? How is this any different when they have introduced it and it gets on your property? Is ignorance an excuse?