Since bamboos are one of the plants I collect, I did have collected many types and I have also gotten rid of many types of bamboo as well. There are basically 2 ways to get rid of bamboo. 1)Cut all the culms down to the ground with a lopper or chainsaw and keep repeating until the grove runs out of energy or shoot buds. 2) Dig it all out, and check for missed pieces.
The reason why I am writing this blog is because sometimes people have problems with certain types of bamboos. Some species of bamboo can become invasive if they are grown in the right climate/ conditions or if the owner of the property doesn't understand or care about it. A lot of people don't know how to properly control, or get rid of bamboo which can cause problems for neighbors. If you have an understanding of how bamboos grow, it can actually be very easy to get rid of.
This method only requires a lopper and maybe a lawnmower if feasible. Most loppers cut up to 2 inches in diameter, but if the culms are bigger, an electric chainsaw will be sufficient. This method is preferable if the bamboo you want to remove covers a lot of ground ie several acres.
1. First It is best to wait until spring when new shoots start rising and get to 2-6 feet tall. This means that many buds have activated, and the bamboo is expending its energy.
2. When the new shoots are several feet tall, it is now time to cut down all over the existing culms to soil level in order to remove all of the plant's source of photosynthesis, but the new shoots should be left alone to continue draining the energy from the grove.
3. Once the new shoots reach their full height and they are branched out, but before they start leafing out, it is time to cut all these new shoots down to soil level when the energy of the grove is almost completely depleted.
4. With the remaining energy left in the grove, the bamboo may still have the ability to generate very small survival culms. The best thing is to wait for them to finish their growth and repeat the process over by cutting them to soil level right before leaves are about to form. Regrowth can happen 3-4 times, but the size and number of them should decrease each time as the number of viable shoot buds are reduced, and the energy dwindles. If it is an open area, planting grass seeds, and keeping the area mowed will be sufficient.
The idea is to starve the bamboo of all its starches stored in the rhizome system and herbicides are generally ineffective.There is no need to remove the rhizomes as they will die and rot away without a source of energy for several months, and there is no need to pay thousands of dollars to remove bamboo with heavy machinery when you can do it by yourself with simple tools such as loppers and chainsaws.
This method is only feasible when there's is not that much bamboo, and it can all be dug up in a few hours, and the benefit is that the bamboo can be removed all on the same day as long as every rhizome is taken out.
1. The first step is to wait until after a nice rain when the soil is easy to dig through.
2. Cut all the culms down to soil level so they are out of the way.
3. Dig out every piece of rhizome starting from the perimeter inwards. Most bamboos only grow near the top of the soil. This can be done with a sharp shovel, a pick and loppers. The inside of the grove is harder to dig out as some species can form a solid root mass if culms were growing very closely.
4. Wait about a month and check to see if there are any sprouts. It's very possible to miss a few pieces which can easily be detected when they start shooting.
Here are a few pictures to show some results on some of the bamboos that I have removed.
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata (yellow groove)
I missed 2 rhizomes in using method 2 so there's some re-sprouting, but it's not that hard to find where the rhizomes are now.
Since I didn't dig every square foot of this area, I am bound to miss some of them, and there are 2 shoots resprouting on this one.
The rhizomes and root mass can be used as mulch for another bamboo or simply be thrown on top of the soil. If a neighbor wants some, they would have to get it back in the soil very soon since bamboo rhizome are no longer viable after their roots dry out which can happen in a few hours.
Here's the view from a distance.
If the culms are large enough, they can be dried in the sun, and used as garden stakes and crafts.
20 July 2013
I just removed another bamboo (phyllostachys aureosulcata spectabilis) which took about 5 minutes to get out and another 10 minutes to get it moved. I simply used a (steel broadfork) as well as a pair of loppers, and the entire grove was taken out with ease.
There is also a wagon, or tow cart that I used to move it out as the entire thing weighed over 200 pounds. This was done purposely after a rain storm so the soil would be very loose and workable.
Here are some pictures to show the entire process. It would simply take longer with a bigger bamboo, but in any case, the steel broad fork is a very powerful tool.
Here's what I dug out.