6. If you have planted bamboo near your foundation, you are very likely going to have a case of the home drainage groundwater blues. Once bamboo is established, you are in for bad home drainage problems. Even neighbors can affect neighbors by planting bamboo. This is one of the worst things you can do to the health of your home and your foundation. The roots of the bamboo plant are extremely invasive.
I looked at a home yesterday that is the poster child for this home drainage problem. The bamboo plants were put in by a former homeowner just about 1 year before the home was sold to the present owner.
The basement has never had a history of leaking, although the slope of the land away from the home is not adequate, and two large window wells have no coverings. The groundwater problem is on the side of the home where the gable roof runs roof water right off the roof because the design has no gutters in that area.
Never the less, the home is how in need of grading, hand excavated french drains, window well coverings, and killing the bamboo, which has penetrated the foundation border and is now a mass of roots running everywhere against the foundation. In time these roots will also crack the foundation wall itself and will be next to impossible to remove or kill.
This is a bad condition to come behind for the home drainage professional needing to install hand excavated french drains.
This also creates a problem for the homeowner unless all the bamboo and roots are successfully sprayed and killed. The soil that is excavated during the installation of the hand excavated french drains will have bamboo root pieces everywhere in the soil and therefore these pieces will start new bamboo plants everywhere the soil is used in the existing landscape. Bad ju ju folks..
Don’t plant bamboo unless you contain it in something that will not crack, like concrete tubs that have no holes for the roots to penetrate. There are other plants that are poor choices for foundation plantings as well, but bamboo is at the top of my list.
For the best foundation health and lack of groundwater entry below grade, do not dig up the soil within 2 feet of the foundation area for planting anything, and compact a splash block away from the foundation for run groundwater from heavy rains off to the hand excavated french drain placed approximately 18″ from the foundation wall. Do not plant bamboo unless you want a bad case of the groundwater entry blues. Additionally bamboo can get you in serious hot water with your neighbors as the roots of bamboo will travel over 30 feet to affect neighboring home sites.