5 Things To Know About New Running Bamboo Ordinance, Effective Jan. 1

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Running Bamboo


Avoid the fine, don’t let running bamboo grow beyond your property line. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the new running bamboo ordinance goes into effect requiring property owners to maintain the invasive grass to their own property.

What is Running Bamboo?

Running bamboo is a fast-growing, invasive grass with a complex, horizontal root system (rhizomes) that aggressively spreads underground, as much as 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. Roots can push through brickwork, drains, cavity walls, patios, and exploit cracks or weaknesses in concrete.

New Running Bamboo Ordinance

In March of 2022, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed the new running bamboo ordinance that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. It will be enforced by the Department of Code Compliance on an individual complaint basis. The ordinance requires that:

  1. A bamboo owner must not allow running bamboo to spread from the bamboo owner’s property to any public right-of-way or any adjoining property not owned by the bamboo owner.
  2. A bamboo owner must contain the running bamboo to keep it from spreading onto any public right‑of‑way or adjoining property not owned by the bamboo owner.

If a bamboo owner fails to comply with a Notice of Violation, each day that running bamboo remains uncontained may result in a civil penalty of $50, up to a maximum of $2,000 in a 12‑month period.

Property owners may incur additional penalties if they allow bamboo to spread to another adjacent property.

Ways to Contain Running Bamboo

Running bamboo roots may be contained using a barrier made of certain kinds of high-density plastic or metal. The plant can also be managed through regular mowing and herbicide application. 


Why it Matters

Running bamboo, like many invasive plants, can be destructive to the natural environment and suppress native plant species. Protecting the environment including land and water quality for the next generation is very important to the community and a key focus area of the Countywide Strategic Plan.

Invasive plants can take over native vegetation and even stifle forest regeneration by outcompeting young trees. Over many generations, existing forests may disappear if continuously overrun with invasive plants. Learn more about what property owners can do to help by visiting the Invasive Species website .

Filing a Complaint

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, if you would like to file a complaint about uncontained running bamboo spreading to an adjacent property or right-of-way, please contact the Department of Code Compliance at 703‑324‑1300, TTY 711, or file an on-line complaint at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/code.


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