City of Bloomington to work with residents on eradication of prohibited invasive bamboo

BLOOMINGTON – Over the years, many community members have planted and maintained stands of yellow groove bamboo, and are unaware that it is no longer acceptable to have it growing on their property.

The type of bamboo that needs to be removed

Yellow groove bamboo is a type of “running” bamboo that spreads rapidly via underground stems called rhizomes, creating a solid grove of stalks. It forms a dense monoculture and thick layer of leaf litter that inhibits and often eliminates native plants.

Biodiversity is resultantly decreased and the ecosystem of the infested area is altered. Rhizomes washed away during heavy rains can travel through storm waterways and spread to new locations. In addition, thick stands of bamboo may pose potential health risks to humans.

Blackbirds and starling species often roost in Phyllostachys stands. Through their accumulated droppings they serve as vectors for the human respiratory disease, Histoplasmosis. Therefore, all types of running bamboo must be eradicated and disposed of deliberately, using proper methodologies to avoid it growing back and spreading. It can take several years before removal is effectively complete. Removal information can be found at:

Yellow groove bamboo

For these reasons, the City is enforcing the prohibition against yellow groove bamboo. Neighborhood compliance officers in the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) will issue a warning to property owners who have yellow groove bamboo growing on their property.

Because of the unique nature of this particular invasive plant, HAND will give property owners a 90-day grace period to work out a plan and begin the process of eradication and disposal. After that 90 days, HAND neighborhood compliance officers will discuss the progress with the property owner and continue to monitor compliance with the removal plan.

Group of yellow groove bamboo

HAND will not issue tickets with fines unless the property owner fails, or refuses, to follow through with the approved plan for the removal of the bamboo. If a property owner refuses to remove the bamboo from their property, HAND may move to have the property abated with the consent of the Board of Public Works. The costs of abatement will be the responsibility of the property owner and will be collected as detailed in Bloomington Municipal Code (BMC) Title 6 (

The City will provide affected property owners with information on best practices for the removal and disposal of bamboo, so they may develop a workable eradication plan. The entire list of prohibited invasive plant species that may not be planted and grown in the City of Bloomington can be found in BMC 20.04.080 – Landscaping, buffering, and fences ( 

Residents can reach the Housing and Neighborhood Development department at or 812-349-3420.