A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Lessons in Bamboo: Love it but Don’t Leave it Alone

by Arjuna da Silva

Previous owners gifted Earthaven’s main street with a healthy stand of bamboo that’s now prolific near the Forest Garden Learning Center. Early Earthaven members added additional stands around the community.

What a beautiful and useful plant (we thought)!

Bamboo IS beautiful. AND useful. But like a beautiful and useful animal, bamboo has to be trained and maintained. Otherwise, despite one’s love for it, IT WILL TAKE OVER!


We had the naïve idea that if bamboo is planted between natural “barriers,” such as creeks and roads, you don’t have to worry about its invasiveness. Think again. Bamboo spreads, like any grass, in every direction through networks of rhizomes and root mats. Although it may be stopped by a road bed or other deep boundary it’s definitely hard to control. If it gets close to a road, come heavy snow and ice, it will lean down frozen and stiff and block traffic.


Excavation to remove Bamboo from the Bellavia pond.

One year, we tried making eating bamboo shoots an incentive to control one stand, but the thrill of eating them didn’t seem to justify all the effort to prepare them. This year, encroachment on a building became too risky to ignore, and a major excavation was undertaken. It will take several years of pruning as new sprouts emerge before we can consider the job done.

Now all neighborhoods and the commons are being managed for bamboo to stop its spread. Harvests are providing material for future decorative and useful experiments.

bamboo, bamboo shoots, excavation, Forest Garden, rhizomes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get an inside look at THREE Earthaven Ecovillage homes.

Sign up for the newsletter and get an exclusive video tour.

* indicates required

Upcoming Events

Virtual Earthaven Tour

Saturday, March 4 @ 2 – 4 pm ET

There’s nothing like experiencing ecovillage life first hand, but taking a virtual tour of Earthaven is a close second! 

The tour highlights ways in which Earthaven is striving to be a holistic, sustainable culture. The introductory overview tour examines the concept of sustainability at Earthaven through social, ecological, and economic lenses. Not only will you get a glimpse of what has worked through time, but also hear about what has been challenging. And you will have a chance to ask questions!

Doug Elliott with Groundhog

Storytelling Concert and Dinner with Doug Elliott

March 31, 2023

Buzzard Wrestling, Turtle Chasing, and Other Wild Tales

Stories, songs, and lore celebrating our human connection to some amazing wild critters. The program is flavored with lively tunes, fantastic folklore, natural history fact stranger than fiction, and more than a few belly laughs.

Playing at the Reaching Nature Connection Conference

Reaching Nature Connection Conference

April 1-2, 2023

East Coast Outdoor Conference for Early Childhood Educators, Teachers, Counselors, Parents and Mentors.

With this year’s theme, Joyful Play, presenters Lia Grippo and Sharon Buczaczer will immerse participants in joyful singing and the freedom of play, all in the spirit of the young child.

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Weekend

May 25-28, 2023

Do you want to learn skills, gain insights and get to know the Earthaven community? Get an inside look at the radical social and ecological experimentation that has taken place in this land-based community for over 27 years.