Re: Bamboo Root Invasion from Neighbor's Yard
I'm not so sure that Fick is on point. In that case, Fick was cutting trees from Nilson's land. Although Fick had permission from Nilson's predecessor, apparently Nilson had been unawayre of that arrangement and placed some value on the trees.
In this case, both Bamboozle and his neighbor consider the bamboo to be a pest plant, a weed. Bamboozle wants it gone, or at least definitively stopped at the property line. The neighbor has taken or is taking the steps of cutting down all of the bamboo and then treating the remaining bases (stumps? rootwads?) in an attempt to kill off the remaining roots.
If the roots continue to grow, they will damage Bamboozle's septic field. But Bamboozle does not report any damage to date and describes both the neighbor's actions and his/her proposed actions as being preventative against likely, and eventual certain damage should the bamboo continue to grow. If the roots die, they will decompose and become part of the soil, presenting no continued threat to the septic field.
The problem with bamboo is that in friendly climates, it grows like a weed. Weeds tend to show up where they are not wanted, and even in places where steps have been taken to prevent their appearance. The only way to keep them in check is with ongoing vigilance and regularly applied measures to remove existing plants and prevent new ones from gaining a foothold. Most people treat weeds with a combination of cutting, pulling, and chemical treatment. With many types of unwanted plant growth, a few shots of Roundup is sufficient. Your neighbor has gone beyond that by doing the work to cut and remove all above surface plant material, and then chemically treating the roots.
He has both expressed and shown that he does not want the plants in his yard anymore than you want them in yours. You have proposed measures that go well beyond what most homeowners would do to ensure that a potential problem does not become a real one. Your neighbor has also stated that the bamboo invaded his yard from another nearby yard. It is a problem for him as well.
The problem that I see with your ability to making a successful claim against your neighbor is that very few homeowners would, or are able to justify the expense of excavating their yard to a depth of 36" and placing what essentially amounts to a solid moat around their property. IMO, a judge is likely to see the problem of invasive bamboo as not simply one between two neighbors, but one potentially affecting several local homeowners in this specific instance, and portions of most communities in which bamboo is prevalent. The judge may be sympathetic to your battle with this weed, but is very likely to see your neighbor's efforts to eradicate it within his area of control as being reasonable, and equally likely to see your proposals as being extraordinary. The law only expects one to exercise reasonable care in such circumstances.
Even with the measures you propose, there is no guarantee that the bamboo in the neighborhood won't eventually find a way into your yard. The difficulty in fighting this plant is greater, and the extent of econimic damage its invasion can do is greater, but what you are proposing is little different than suing your neighbor because he has crabgrass in his yard and it may spread to yours and choke out your flower beds.
If your neighbor were cultivating the bamboo and not cooperating at all, and had the invasive roots actually caused measurable damage to your property, you would probably have a good chance of prevailing in an action ordering him to contain or remove the plants (cut and chemically treat), and possibly to reimburse you for the actual damage suffered.
My advice is that you should be thankful that you have a neighbor who would respond by trying to prevent the further spread of the bamboo with reasonable measures to remove and kill all of it on his property. It's amazing how many people don't have neighbors who are that reasonable, and who would either let the problem go unchecked, or who may even take action to escalate a conflict.
From what you've written, this neighbor seems like one who has made an attempt to be a good and responsible (and responsive) neighbor. IMO, you should be one as well by thanking him for his efforts and taking on any efforts which go above and beyond what is reasonable yourself. If you are that concerned about the bamboo, realize that as long as it's in the neighborhood, your property is not going to be at risk of it finding a way in. Perhaps a more effective measure might be to organize the affected neighbors to eradicate it together by more conventional means (cutting and chem-treating the rootballs).
I wish you well in staving off or eradicating the bamboo, but more importantly, in maintaining and perhaps building neighborly relationships.
I'm a surveyor, not your surveyor & not an attorney.
Advice is general survey, not legal. Hire a local professional for specific advice.