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Roslyn Harbor bans invasive bamboo in village, neighborhoods

Roslyn Harbor is joining a list of Long Island communities that have banned invasive bamboo on village property and in residential neighborhoods.

The village board voted 5-0 last month to ban any new planting of genera Bambusa or genera Dendrocalamus. Residents who already have bamboo on their property must make sure the plant doesn’t encroach on a neighboring property, the village law states. If any bamboo on a resident’s lawn grows onto village property, the resident is responsible for removing the growth.

The law takes effect Sept. 1. Residents who violate the ban will be fined up to $250.

Mayor Louis Badolato said the village acted after officials in neighboring municipalities warned the Roslyn Harbor board about the damage the bamboo roots can inflict.

“People are planting this bamboo, which are a very invasive species, and it’s causing real problems to surrounding land owners and to the village sidewalks,” Badolato said. “These bamboo roots will go through anything.”

The towns of North Hempstead, Hempstead, Huntington, Brookhaven, Smithtown and Babylon have already passed laws restricting the plant.

“Since other people are passing it in other villages, we figured we’d be proactive and say [to residents], ‘You can’t do it here,’ ” Badolato said.

The plant’s roots grow horizontally underground, and its rhizomes spread, creating new shoots that can burrow underneath a neighbor’s property. Ultimately, Long Islanders who don’t want bamboo on their property could see the plant on their lawns.

Removing overgrown bamboo is difficult and expensive, village officials said.

Roslyn Harbor resident Michael Cieslik, 43, said he paid $17,000 five years ago to remove a 40-foot mass of bamboo from his home on Church Street. He said the bamboo was planted by the previous owner and was so overgrown that it took a substantial amount of work to remove it all.

“You couldn’t even see the front of the house, it was that bad,” Cieslik said.

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