A Sydney woman has been ordered to remove bamboo trees from her backyard after the plant’s roots caused damage to her neighbour’s pool pipes.
The woman’s Cremorne Point property, which she leases to tenants, is bordered on three sides by dense, 6m-high bamboo trees.
Her neighbour, who purchased his property in 2015, has an in-ground swimming pool that was installed around 2006.
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Late last year, the neighbour noticed a drop in the water level of his pool and after investigating, found a pipe at the back of the pool had ruptured.
He then hired a plumber who repaired the pipe and reported bamboo roots in it, which he considered had caused the pipe damage.
In an application to the Land and Environment Court, the neighbour said the bamboo stems, which he said had encroached from the adjacent property, had grown quickly near the back of his pool.
He claimed the bamboo had also damaged a wooden staircase.
He then hired landscape gardeners who removed all bamboo stems from his garden, a move which required them to also remove almost all the other plants he had previously planted for landscaping.
“Even with this extent of bamboo removal, (he) was unable to prevent bamboo regrowth,” a decision handed down this week said.
His plumber advised future pipe damage was likely if the bamboo remained.
He then contacted the woman through her property agent to seek removal of the bamboo from her land near the common boundary, which she indicated would be difficult.
The man then applied to the court to make orders for the removal of the bamboo.
An onsite hearing revealed the “bamboo grew as a dense screen along the entire length of the excavated steeply sloping bank bordering the rear of the respondent’s property and continued uninterrupted up both side boundaries”.
The court also heard the plumber noted, “’the bamboo roots had extensively infiltrated the pool pipes, resulting in about 60 per cent of the in-ground pipes being burst’”.
The plumber also wrote: “’the network of bamboo and roots that caused the damage originated from the neighbouring property, encroaching onto your property and affecting the pool area, piping and stairs’”.
The respondent’s solicitor disputed the plumber’s claim and said the pipe damage was likely due to the age of the pipes, which were about 17 years old.
However, Acting Commissioner of the Court John Douglas agreed the bamboo was a cause of the pipe damage.
“I am also satisfied that without intervention, the bamboo is likely to recur in the near future,” he said in his decision.
Douglas said the bamboo was a “poor plant selection” which was always likely to escape into neighbouring properties.
In making his orders to have some of the bamboo removed, Douglas said the costs would be paid by the respondent.
“Recent herbicide impact on bamboo along the southern boundary in the respondent’s property suggested that someone knew about the bamboo’s capacity to spread, and managed it, at least within the respondent’s land,” he said.
“For all these reasons, I am not satisfied that the applicant should be responsible for inconsiderate choices made by a former owner of the respondent’s property.”
Douglas ordered the respondent to hire a contractor to cut, poison and remove all bamboo growing on the sloping bank adjacent to the common boundary as well as other bamboo near the man’s north side common boundary.
The respondent was ordered to take the steps to remove the bamboo twice a year.
After the bamboo was removed, the complainant was ordered to plant one tree, in the garden behind his swimming pool to “provide future privacy through the respondent’s rear window”.
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