Bamboo has a variety of uses: Wind screen, natural fencing, furniture, tools, housing, floors and even toys. Although a natural substance, and thought to be safe, there are dangers of bamboo plants. These dangers should be taken into consideration before planting or for material use.
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When bamboo plants or stalks are in a dried state, they are very flammable. This is also true when bamboo is green. Bamboo has an internal membrane that is combustible. The fire danger is increased with the variety of bamboo known as Katas, which is found in the Ratanmahals Forest in India. The sanctuary is on high alert when the bamboo begins to bloom.
Bamboo provides shelter, and the roots provide food for many rodents and insects. This makes a perfect habitat for mice and rats, and insects, such as the Powderpost beetle, to take over. When bamboo is uncontained, and allowed to spread, it could allow the rodents and insects to migrate closer to human habitation. The dense habitat also makes a perfect shelter for wild animals that may be unwelcome and harmful to humans, pets and gardens.
Bamboo spreads very quickly and can overtake an area of land in a short amount of time. An acre of land is 43,560 square feet, and one bamboo plant can spread 5 feet in one year. If allowed to develop and spread, gardens, yards and surrounding areas will be affected. Bamboo will choke out existing plant life, and grassy areas will be unable to thrive. Bamboo is hard to destroy. When the stalks are killed, the roots continue to live. Once bamboo has taken over an area, it is virtually impossible to get rid of all the existing plants and roots.
Heavenly Bamboo, also knows as Sacred Bamboo, is not really bamboo at all. This plant is related to the Barberry plant and is toxic to humans and animals if ingested.
Lucky Bamboo is not a true bamboo plant. The Lucky Bamboo is a relative of the corn plant and is found under the genus Dracaena Sanderiana. This plant is toxic to animals and humans if ingested.
Bamboo that is manufactured for building purposes may contain chemicals, which cause respiratory problems for those who have allergies. The formaldehyde in the stalks may cause breathing problems for those who otherwise are not affected by an allergy and have no known respiratory problems.
When used as a wind screen, or natural privacy fence, bamboo grows dense, forms a strong reed, and is very resilient. But, depending on the type of bamboo present, and the climate, it can overpopulate in a short time. Clumping bamboo can grow from 1 to 2 feet each year. Running bamboo can grow from 3 to 5 feet each year. Each plant will spread at the same rate, making it difficult to control. Precautions should be taken for containment.