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Your email address will not be published.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 newlsetter and get an exclusive video tour.

* indicates required

Upcoming Events

Flowing creek with statue at Earthaven Ecovillage

Nature as Medicine — Gaia and Your Health, Vitality, and Spiritual Unfoldment

FIVE MONDAYS: 3-5 EST: DEC 6, 13, 20, 27; JAN 3

Learn how to take care of your body in a way that enables spiritual unfoldment and supports joyful living.

As our lives have become more complicated and organized around technological advances, our health has faltered. This series will look at how interlinked the health of our bodies is with the health of Gaia, and the ways in which genuine healing can address both.


Virtual Earthaven Tour

Wednesday, December 8 @ 2 – 4 pm EDT

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!

Thriving in Relationships — Five Tools for Success

Five Mondays 7 – 9 EST: Jan 10, 17, 23, 31; Feb 7

Join Steve Torma in this deep dive to learn five key relationship tools: gratitude & appreciation, empathy, honest expression, needs-based negotiation, and relationship repair. These tools can improving all types of relationships, including with friends, family, co-workers, community members, and even within oneself.

Earthaven Ecovillage Visitor Weekend

May 27-30, 2022

This service-learning program introduces participants in the community life of Earthaven Ecovillage. The class gives participants an inside look at the radical social and ecological experimentation that has taken place in this land-based community over the past 27 years.