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The Association vs my bird-of-paradise
#136095 Oct 3rd, 2007 at 03:12 PM
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I need your help. My homeowners association has decided the rhizomes of my bird-of-paradise are a threat to the cinder block walls of our planters. The plant has been in its place for almost 20 years without causing any problems. Now they want the plant moved, so they got someone to write a letter recommending its removal based on this new potential damage.

I have been researching in my spare time on damage caused by the roots of birds-of-paradise when planted close to walls, and have found absolutely nothing! I know the potential damage does not exist - the rhizomes bend when they find resistance. But I need support for my position. Any guidance?

Thanks!!!

Last edited by Orchid_Lover; Oct 3rd, 2007 at 03:13 PM.
Re: The Association vs my bird-of-paradise
Orchid_Lover #136160 Oct 3rd, 2007 at 09:40 PM
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first, i'd say that, since it's been in place for 20 years and hasn't caused any damage so far that it's extremely unlikely that it ever will.

then i thought about it...

has the plant ever been removed for splitting out and/or replenishing the soil? if not, then you don't know what the conditions under the soil really are. yes, the rhizome may bend when it hits resistance like the side of the planter so, no, it won't necessarily break through the planter because it's looking to continue it's growth.

the rhizome will increase in size tho (i don't know how quickly that particular plants' rhizome grow - 20 years is an awfully long time tho, so it's got to be a pretty good size by now!) and that extra growth along with the curling over when it meets resistance will eventually cause the planter to burst from excessive pressure from the enlarged rhizome(s). that's what their issue is - especially if they know just how long the plant has been in the planter!

now is a good time to unpot the plant and see what's going on with the rhizome - and make sure to take some pics of it so that you can show the association just exactly what the situation with the rhizone is. i'd suggest that you offer to split the rhizome out (regardless of whether it really needs it or not). they really won't be able to argue with you too much if you offer to compromise straight off.

documenting the time frame and the condition/size of the rhizome now as compared to when you originally got it (you can use a new plant for comparision) may prove the point that there's really no danger. it's possible that it will turn out that there may be a danger - which you'll know once you unpot it - the fact that you've offered to split the rhizome should resolve any problems anyone has with the plant (or a piece of it) staying in the planter.

this type of thing is one of the many reasons i wouldn't ever want to live in a complex run by an association...i really hope you get it worked out in a positive way (as in, the bop stays put!); good luck!!


Zone 6b
Re: The Association vs my bird-of-paradise
Joclyn #136205 Oct 4th, 2007 at 05:58 AM
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Thank, Joclyn. We had an opportunity to check the status of the rhizome after they tented the building. The rhizome was very healthy and, believe it or not, small for a plant that old. It does not get enough sun to grow to full size. It blooms in June-August and makes me happy.

I proposed placing it in a liner at ground level. That should do it. And, yes, I reduced it down to three stems only out of the almost 20 that were there before (it was here when we bought the house last year). And they still gripe... Go figure.

Thank you so much for letting me see the other side of the picture and your helpful suggestions.

Re: The Association vs my bird-of-paradise
Orchid_Lover #136287 Oct 4th, 2007 at 10:17 AM
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ahhh!!! you're new owners of the property!! the most probable thing is that the previous owners had the plant 'grandfathered in' when rules changed. now that they no longer own the property, that grandfathering is no longer in force. it makes perfect sense, now, as to why this has been an issue!!

if the rhizome is not very large and is that old, then i doubt, very much it would ever cause any issues with the planter and/or the wall (it's obviously a very slow-growing bulb).

whoever is griping is basing their gripes on the size of the plant aboveground - and associating that with and assuming that the size of the rhizome must be identical to the size of the plant. obviously they are not a gardener!!

well, at least you get to keep the plant...it's a pretty one and it'll grow back the shoots you took off.


Zone 6b

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