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Beginner Landscaping: Lets talk about ways to kill bamboo

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MiniPonyFarmer
Gilmer, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 23, 2013
2:32 PM

Post #9531485

We just bought some beautiful acreage and are trying to fix things up. The previous owner allowed her sister to plant bamboo 3 years ago. The patch is about 20 feet by 25 feet. I have taken loppers and chopped every single stalk down. Some were very tough so I could only get them down to about a foot tall. Others I cut to ground level. This patch of bamboo is among 3 very nice oak and walnut trees' roots. Yes, I was surprised that the bamboo would thrive beneath a walnut tree. But, it is!
We have a backhoe, and I had considered using it, but I wanted to keep those oak and walnut trees. So I opted to cut it down first.
Now, I am chopping any new sprouts 2 or 3 times a week.
I have searched the internet and read lots of various methods to get rid of it.
What is your experience with getting rid of this evil stuff? All tips and advice is greatly appreciated.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 23, 2013
3:44 PM

Post #9531561

OMG, what a task you have on your hands, as far as I know, there are no cures or ways to kill off these type of Bamboo's as they spread like wild-fire by underground runners / tubers, they can lift a concrete pathway or even a roadway with heavy traffic can be found to have Bamboo growing there, OK the tops are not feet high but the runners go out searching for a new place (roadside edges to send up shoots.

The only way I know to control this pest is to do as you have done but keep doing it every time you find new shoots, you could hand paint the stems with a strong brush killer and if you see a new shoot, give it a paint, you might or will have to repeat this again and again in the hope you will eventually weaken the tubers under ground but other than that I hope someone else comes in to help.

I know if people do really, really want this type of Bamboo, they are advised to build a frame in the ground by using metal, concrete slabs or other very strong stuff to contain the roots and prevent it taking over the whole area.
I like Bamboo in the right situation and it is lovely when the breeze rustles the foliage, and gives a nice sound but you always need to do research way before you decide to bring it home.
Hope others can help you out. Best of luck. WeeNel.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 23, 2013
8:40 PM

Post #9531950

Keep on cutting! As often as you can.
You could also try covering the area with a black tarp. See if excluding the light will work.
You could try spraying it, but bamboo laughs at most weed killers.

Most Oaks and Walnuts are very deep rooted. Try a small area of the bamboo with pick and shovel. See it you can get 6" to 1' deep without finding tree roots. If so, then go rent a back hoe.
If your trees are surface rooted, then it is your call, but you can do a lot of damage to them with a back hoe.
WeeNel
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

May 25, 2013
12:14 AM

Post #9533165

Diane, believe my Bamboo will penetrate the black trap, it can grow through concrete honestly. The Rhizomes are very tough and don't require light to find there way underground, but the sharp tips of the growing stem/ bud cuts through stuff you would find difficult to dig with a spade.
Maybe IF you can damage the Rhizomes (roots or though bulbus growth ) then soak / paint with some killer it will kill or weaken the plants.

Suffice to say there are some Bamboos that don't behave this way and IF contained when first planted can make a nice contribution to many types of gardens.
My heart goes out to the owner of this menace.
Best of luck. WeeNel.

Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 26, 2013
8:13 PM

Post #9535238

WeeNel is right- some bamboo can grow right through black plastic.

My thought was to exclude light as part of a multi-phase approach.

1) Dig out all you can, even if it means some minor damage to the tree roots. Scraping a several inches to a foot deep with the back hoe.
2) If there are any masses of bamboo that you cannot dig, spray them. Caution: sprays strong enough to help kill bamboo can also kill the trees, if they are sprayed on enough of the tree. I would hold up a cardboard or plastic shield so the spray hits only the bamboo.
3) Tarp the area to exclude light. 6 mil or thicker black plastic would be my choice. Then cover that with soil or tree chips. Anything to hide the plastic from the sun (UV will break it down). If you have other materials such as old carpet, that is stronger. Still, cover it to hold it down and to completely exclude light.
4) Watch like a hawk and spray ANY little bit that emerges into the light, cover that with something (perhaps a bucket) for a few days to exclude light until the weed killer has soaked in, then cut that off as low into the soil as you can.

Glyphosate will work, but read the label for the correct dilution, and it takes several applications. A spreader-sticker can help, if the product you are using does not already contain a surfactant.

This is not a problem with a quick solution.
deva33freya
Burnaby, BC
(Zone 8b)

May 28, 2013
12:14 PM

Post #9537147

My sympathies! We have shooting bamboo in our backyard, and it's awful stuff. I'm mostly subbing to check out the ideas.

I didn't want to leave stumps (we have kids, and I was worried that they might trip on it), so I dug out a huge patch of roots and all, over the last couple of summers. I dug a trench around the remaining bamboo, to try to kill off the roots that are in the yard. They are much weaker now than they were a couple of years ago, but they still grow up in the yard.

You may want to at least dig a trench around the grove, to keep it from spreading out even further.

I do want to say that not all bamboo is bad. We have a lovely little bunch of clumping bamboo growing on the side of our yard. It has spread perhaps 2 feet in the 6 years we've lived here. It's very different looking than the shooting bamboo on the other side of the yard, so I know it stays where it's supposed to.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

May 28, 2013
9:50 PM

Post #9537884

Even the clumping bamboo could do with a trench around it. Allow the trench to fill with loose leaves. Remove the leaves at least once a year and break off all the runners that are creeping out into new territory.

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