How To Control Bamboo Plants Naturally

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This article provides helpful tips and instructions for controlling the spread of bamboo plants and roots naturally
by Brett · All Zones · Techniques & Methods · 1 Comments · April 06, 2015 · 4,092 views

When some folks think of bamboo they see horrific visions of an out-of-control forest. This is true for those who plant running-type bamboo and either abandon or mismanage it. If you love the look of bamboo and would like to plant it in your garden, however don't want to little if any maintenance, take a look at clumping bamboo, which are non-agressive and tend to stay in neat clumps. That being said, when researching the many genus of bamboo plants, you might fall in love with some of the attractive runners. If so, know that there planting methods using rhizome barriers or natural methods that will control the spread of running bamboo. There are two basic methods for naturally controlling the spread of bamboo rhizomes (roots).

1 - Aborting New Shoots

Using this type of maintenance is a easy way to control your bamboo grove and it simply involves destroying new shoots. New shoots are easiest to remove after they have reached about 6-12" tall. New shoots have a very high water content to support the rapid grow that bamboo undergoes in its first 60 days of life. During this fragile time bamboo is very easy to abort and control This is when they are the most fragile. Once aborted the cane will never grow again.

First, identify unwanted shoots: those that emerge outside of your desired growth area.

New shoots are fragile and can be easily removed. A swift kick can even remove the largest of shoots.

New shoots can also be removed easily with a lawn mower, however some areas maybe difficult to mow. A weed eater can be used in these areas.

Once all the new shoots have been removed in the spring, you will be done until next spring. Occasionally, you will have a couple of late shooters but the majority will happen in the spring.

Also keep in mind that most all bamboo shoots are edible which can be an added bonus if you are inclined.

2 - Root Pruning

Roots or rhizomes can be cut to prevent bamboo from spreading. This method can be used when bamboo has been planted close to a property line. Using this method can help prevent rhizomes from traveling into undesired areas. If the rhizomes can't establish themselves in unwanted areas, they cannot produce canes there.
An open trench is established

You can do root pruning with a spade. This is done by overlapping each cut. Just push the spade into the ground and remove it. Go all around the area that you want the bamboo to remain inside. This cuts the roots and keeps the bamboo in check. It is a simple method and will work if done correctly twice a year, mid to late summer and in the fall. This is a great way to control bamboo in the hard to mow areas.

If you'd rather use a natural method you can use bamboo root barriers that effectively control the spread of bamboo rhizomes. You can buy bamboo root barriers online at Gardener Direct.


Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Very helpful information. My neigbors bamboo screen makes a beautiful privacy screen. Unfortunately not planted properly it can be uncontrollable much of the time. Hopefully this article will show many they don't have to be fearful of the running -type bamboo. It can be grown with all its beauty while still being controlled when planted and controlled properly. Thanks Brent.

8 years ago ·
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