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Mazzeo Bill to Establish Requirements for Sale and Planting of Running Bamboo Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo to establish requirements for the sale and planting of running bamboo.

Running bamboo is fast-growing, invasive and can be extremely costly to remove. If not properly contained, the hardy plant can spread aggressively and cause damage to concrete sidewalks, home foundations, and other structures.

“Running bamboo has become popular choice for a natural barrier and privacy screen around homes. However, failing to control this invasive plant species can create headaches for homeowners,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “Bamboo left unattended around vacant property can cause damage in neighboring yards. This bill will ensure bamboo is responsibly planted, maintained and controlled.”

Under the measure (A-284) only certified nurserymen or women could sell running bamboo in New Jersey, and only licensed landscape architects and registered home improvement contractors could plant it, with the goal to ensure planting is done properly to avoid spreading. Any person who sells or plants running bamboo without proper qualification would be subject to a $100 fine.

The bill also provides that a licensed landscape architect or registered home improvement contractor who plants running bamboo may not plant it on any property within 100 feet from the property boundary line or public right-of-way, unless certain measures are taken to contain the running bamboo.

A property owner would be liable for any damages caused to any neighboring property by running bamboo under the measure. A subsequent purchaser of property, or a person who takes possession of property pursuant to a foreclosure, would be responsible for ensuring that any running bamboo does not grow beyond the boundaries of the property.

Finally, the bill would require the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety to require the property condition disclosure statement obtained from the seller of a property to include a question on the presence of running bamboo.

“Plain and simple, maintaining running bamboo is the neighborly thing to do. It’s my hope that this legislation will protect homeowners from expensive removal costs and provide a valuable framework for future conscientious planting,” said Mazzeo.

The measure now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.