Chesterfield man says bamboo on VDOT property bombarding his yard

Bamboo on VDOT's land grows right next to Butch Thomas' fence. (Source: NBC12)
Bamboo on VDOT's land grows right next to Butch Thomas' fence. (Source: NBC12)
Updated: May. 1, 2018 at 11:44 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Butch Thomas loves plants, like the azaleas he cultivates and his manicured lawn.

But there's a patch of bamboo plants Thomas is not fond of. It grows on state property bordering his own, and it's crossed the line - literally.

Thomas has been battling the bamboo creeping onto his property for decades. The Virginia Department of Transportation, which maintains the land where the bamboo is growing, has come to cut the overgrown the plants before. But the bamboo keeps growing, and VDOT doesn't regularly cut it back.

Now it's spreading toward Thomas' home, and he's had enough of it.

"To me, it reflects on the person theirself," Thomas said about his yard, which has always drawn compliments. "You can see how my grass is there on the right side. My whole backyard used to look like that."

The portion he points to is green and lush. But on the other side, the grass is turning brown and refusing to grow. He blames VDOT's bamboo for all of it.

"Look at it," Thomas said. "I mean, it's ridiculous."

Thomas is a Navy veteran who had to have back surgery late last year, and can no longer go out with his ax to cut that bamboo. He says he shouldn't have to do that anyway, and he's hoping for a permanent fix.

Bamboo is bombarding the fence that separates his property from the state's. But it's not just what you can see that's causing problems. The roots are spreading into his yard.

"I've called the state. They give you a claim number," Thomas said. "I knew that I couldn't fight the government, and I needed some help."

VDOT has made an appointment for Wednesday to check out what is happening with the property, which is located just behind Highway 76.

"If this was their property, and I had stuff growing on their property, it would be another situation," Thomas said. "If you don't do anything about it right here, next it's going to end up further down in my yard."

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