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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bamboo removal made easy

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.

Method 1:
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.


Method 2:
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)

Before:



After:

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.

Phyllostachys bissetii

Before:

After:

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.








63 comments:

  1. Very informative! Thank you for your help on the GardenWeb forum as well!

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    1. Thanks. I think it's important for people to understand the energy cycle of rhizomes, and how to contain or eradicate bamboo so it doesn't become a problem for anyone.

      Delete
  2. Just to update on these bamboos, it looks like they are on their 3rd & last burst of energy as the current rain storm is causing only a few tiny(under 1/8 inch) shoots to come out which I'll be able to pull out by hand once they finish growing, and I believe the rhizomes should rot.

    If it was rhizomes in a lawn, that means it that the rhizomes can only stay alive for 1-2 months without any culms given that the lawn is mowed every couple weeks.

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  3. Please Help my neighbour has bamboo and it is spreading rapidly through all my plants will i have to take out all my plants to get rid of the bamboo it is also shooting uo all over my lawn

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    1. Does he know about it? It should be his responsibility to contain it.

      You don't necessarily have to dig out your plants to get rid of it. Just cut a trench right on the property line severing off any energy source that those rhizomes on your property may have. A pitch with a lopper would work as well as a sharp shovel. I prefer using a steel broad fork.

      I would suggest keeping your yard moist so any energy within those rhizome is easily released and so it become easier for the rhizome to rot away. Just make sure the survival shoots don't leaf out. You should definitely get your neighbor to install a rhizome barrier because they should take responsibility for their own plants. Even if they are unwilling to contain their bamboo, they can at least pay for you to do it, but as long as you keep a trench between their screen, and your yard, you should be able to keep their rhizomes from crossing.

      Good luck.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the reply. The bamboo has spread among my existing plants, if i make a trench between the fence will all the new shoots die? They seem to be popping up everywhere even half way across my lawn. If I keep chopping it down will it eventually die. My neighbour has not been interested im at my wits end. Thanks again

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    1. No problem. The rhizomes in the beds may make survival shoots for a while, but if you keep the area moist, and cut those shoots down right before they leaf out, they will get smaller and smaller. Once the rhizomes don't have enough energy to take in water, the rhizomes will rot, and shoots will stop coming up.

      In you case, it looks like you may need to keep a trench or put down a bamboo barrier to deflect any rhizomes that try to come across upwards, but that should be done on their side of the fence, out of their own pocket. If it's a major problem, and those neighbors aren't willing to take care of their own mess, I would call an attorney about it because it shouldn't be your problem. That's just being discourteous of a neighbor.

      Anyways, the best option would probably be to get the trench made, and left open so any rhizomes that try to cross can be easily spotted and cut with a lopper, or put in a bamboo barrier. I still think that it would make sense for them to be doing all of this, or at least forced to pay for someone to do it for them.



      Do you know what species it happens to be? If it is any of the ones in this blog post, they do take a while to run out of energy as screening bamboos are typically the type that cause people problems. I simply stopped growing screening bamboos altogether because the run too fast, and grow all over the place. I prefer growing the ones that can get huge, but tend to stay in a clump.

      Delete
  5. Why is it that the bamboo from irresponsible neighbors never seem to spread into their own yards but always get into other people's yard?!

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    1. One possibility is that they do have it spreading into their own yard, but just keep their lawn mowed. Another possibility is that they just rhizome prune on their side of the fence while letting the bamboo do whatever it wants on the neighbor's side. If that was my neighbor, I would make him or her pay for containing their own bamboos, or let them know their other option of facing a lawsuit and making them pay for the damages that their bamboo does to my yard.

      In any case, I will make it clear to them that it is a problem that they need to take care of. These people probably look for the fastest growing most invasive kinds of bamboos they can find too so they can get an immediate privacy screen eh?

      You could also probably grow some sort of an ivy, potato vine, or any climbing plant for some horticultural warfare that they started.

      Just kidding, but it is important to let them know that it's a serious issue.

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  6. Thanks so much for all the advice I'll keep you informed of progress I'll keep digging and chopping down.as for my neighbour I think they feel its me being miserable and have not spoken to me since I've mentioned the bamboo a shame as we've been neighbours for 27 years

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    1. Perhaps they simply don't know the problems it is causing, but being neighbors for 27 years, I would imagine that they would at least be willing to do their part to sever off some bamboos on their side, and at least create a trench, or help you do it.

      If you have some photos of it, I would be interested in seeing them. I don't mind people posting IMG links on my blog.

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  7. Still digging bloody bamboo thanks for all the advice have appreciated it will keep you posted thanks again.

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    1. Great. Once you get that trench severed so the rhizomes on your side are no longer attached to a source of energy, they may try to push some survival shoots, but they are set up to rot, as you only have so many viable shoot buds, but wet rhizomes without leaves for transpiration will rot pretty quickly if you keep cutting them down before they get a chance to leaf out.

      Also try to make sure no new rhizome cross the trench as they do do most of their growth in late summer/early fall.

      Delete
  8. Sorry one more question, have managed to cut the bamboo to ground level but new leaves are appearing do I just need to keep cutting it down. Also do i need to get all the roots out have managed to get a few out but they seem to go.on and on. Thanks again

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    1. If you have survival shoots, you can leave them alone until they leaf out so they end up wasting more of their remaining starch reserves, then cut them off when they have a few leaves.

      After cutting down the survival growth for a few times, they will get localized into a few remaining spots as the energy of the rhizome system dwindles, and then it would make sense to dig those out for the finishing blow.

      Delete
  9. Sorry to say this but I have been in your position. Your irresponsible neighbors have ruined your property. You will be fighting this as long as you live there and it's going to get real old really fast. Get rid of your garden and make this lawn where you can mow down the shoots that will continue to sprout. And you will need to mow regularly and often.

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    1. These are actually my own bamboos. I just didn't like those certain species in the ground because they spread too aggressively making it tougher to grow the garlic, but with the right tools, they are pretty easy to remove. If I let them stick around too long in the ground, it would then be a bit more work to use use the steel broadfork or slamming tool to get out the rhizomes which would impede the garlic from growing to full size.

      I find bamboos pretty easy to grow as long as you choose the right species which can be managed with ease and know about their growth habit.

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  10. I just bought a house, and the previous owner recently disposed of a very large clump of CUT OFF bamboo in the backyard. the bamboo came from a different property she owns, it does not grow in this backyard (yet!!??) I'm wondering if I need to be worried that this cut-off bamboo will propogate in my backyard. I've tried to find answers on google, but can't find out what people do with their cut-down bamboo. Is bamboo DEAD once it is cut off? or is there a chance new bamboo shoots could sprout up where the pile of bamboo debris is? susan from PA

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If it is a true bamboo, and they didn't plant it into the ground, then it shouldn't grow especially if it is already looking dead. Bamboo roots and rhizomes above ground will dry out within about a week even if it is a very large clump.

      If it's Japanese knotweed, then yes, it will sink roots into the ground and self-propagate itself.

      If they put the clump of bamboos there, chances are, they intend to plant it right? I really don't see a reason for them to bring it in if they don't intend to grow it. If they are growing a screening type which happens to be the most common bamboo, you probably want to make sure they put up some barriers or have some form of rhizome control so it doesn't spread into your yard. Screening types typically have relatively skinny culms growing thickly and can spread over 10ft in a season with lots of fairly skinny rhizomes, but I need a photo to know for sure.

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    2. thanks for your response. not sure if it is true bamboo or Japanese knotweed.

      this is brush that was cut down from another property up the road. the owner threw the cuttings in my backyard (she used to own the house when she threw the cuttings here). she didn't plan to plant anything, she was just putting her yard waste in this backyard.

      Delete
  11. Hi steve. I have a running bamboo and im going with the dig it out approach right now. I have cut every stalk and am using a grub ax to help myself remove the rhizomes. My question is, will a small rhyzome fragment of and inch grow on its own? Im doing a good job picking all small fragments. Anything less than an inch is staying and i will employ the cut off method if they resprout. Do you think those real small fragments will be a problem for me? Thanks. Its good to know it is possible to be bamboo free! My father planted it as a fence but more of a leland cypress guy!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't think there's a need to even take out the rhizomes because cutting down all the culms will starve them out, but any fragments that are an inch long are very unlikely to sprout. They will rot when they run too low on energy.

      If you clear cut once now, let them all shoot, clear cut again, it should be enough to get pretty close to killing the bamboo entirely because you would easily be able to mow over it.

      Delete
  12. great thanks, Steve. The only issue hard the hard clumps above ground level that i'd like to cut into and thin out. Do you think an electric chain saw would be sufficient to cut into the clumps at soil level or a petrol one?

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    1. If you are having trouble with the tough root masses sticking out, then a strong reciprocating saw should be able to cut them into sections that can be removed piece by piece.

      The underground stuff can then be left to rot.

      I would suggest going with the petrol saw because electric saws generally have less power.

      Either the reciprocating saw or gas chain saw would be ideal in getting rid of the root masses.

      Delete
  13. Hi! I have a serious bamboo issue and I tried using an electric saw and the bamboo laughs at it. Loppers work for the smaller ones, but it won't touch the bigger stuff. Would a gas chainsaw work better? I'm trying to get handle on it and the electric chain saw isn't "cutting" it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Electric chainsaws are only designed to cut softwoods or prune fruit trees so they won't be able to cut through hard stuff. I have a $47 electric chainsaw myself which just doesn't have enough hp with its 14 inch blade.

      I would definitely go up with the $250 or so nicer gas chain saws which cut through almost anything. I would however suggest using safety glasses for cutting through a clump of bamboo to remove because you will cause a lot of dirt and pebbles to fly up into the air.


      It sounds like you have a pretty big bamboo. Is it just the yellow groove type?

      Delete
    2. It looks like Phyllostachys makinoi. It's very hardy, which has become very problematic. Thank you for the recommendation on the chainsaw.

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. Thank you for this descriptive information Steve. My wife and I just purchased a home in Pennsylvania in the middle of winter and now that it is spring we have discovered that the previous owner(s) had planted an area of bamboo (Phyllostachys bissetii going by your pictures) at one point around the back deck that seems to have rhizomes going almost 20ft to the other side of the deck that I discovered in some digging tonight! It's supposed to be pretty beautiful this weekend so based on your information it looks like we are in for a weekend of digging to try and get rid of it!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. P Bissettii is definitely among the fastest spreaders. It will take a bit of pruning to keep that one in check. Some phyllostachys only spread a few feet per year, even in warmer climates.

      Delete
  16. Hi, i need some help.
    I dug out all of my bamboo divisions by working around it until the whole division was loose and simply pulled it out.

    I want to plant some other stuff in there but i am not sure if theres anything left from bamboo that can grow back.

    I am 100% sure that theres no rhizome left but some of the roots the little thin stuff is all over the place.

    i dug pretty much all of them out but some still there.

    its been around 6 weeks since i dug first division and about 2 weeks since i dug the last one, thankfully not a single shoot showed up.

    is it safe to assume that i can safely plant new stuff?

    i got a brick barrier between my lawn and boundry wall where bamboo was growing.

    bamboo it self pretty thin and did not spread anywhere apart from where it was planted.

    any help is appreciated

    thanks you.

    regards

    Ross.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. One thing to make sure is that you have rhizomes with viable buds, and also that the connection between the culms and rhizome are not injured which can happen pretty easily. It's also still pretty easy in the season so shooting may not happen until later in spring. The basic requirements for a good division is rhizome, buds, and root hairs.

      You may want to find out what species you have, and where you are planting it to consider if it is safe. You can get an ID most of the time at bambooweb forums.

      Delete
  17. Hi,your blog is really nice and provides a great info about Tree lopper toowoomba i want to continue with your blogs and thanks to share such a nice info with us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello Steve, I'm trying to remove some bamboo from my yard, and don't know what type it is. I can say, in certain parts where buds a sprouting, a leaf sprouts out when its only a two inches in height. Any idea which type this is, and the best way to remove. Also, there are several hard clumps throughout the yard. Thanks

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    1. If you have a type that sprouts leaves at only 2 inches in height, you likely have a ground cover species, likely in the sasa, or pseudosasa genus if it happens to be a true bamboo. This means a lawn mower may not be too effective so you may want to let them produce all their shoots, then dig out the parts with green with a sharp shovel, and loppers to cut the rhizomes.

      I've never planted or removed a ground cover type before, but, but underground, they are a mix between a regular sized bamboo, and lawn grass so you may be able to get under the entire mess while the soil is moist and rip it all out.

      If you don't want to deal with that and don't mind waiting 3-4 months, then you can also lay black plastic over the entire area, and allow the bamboo to cook for a few months while they are deprived of sunlight so they can rot away. This method works on killing grass as well.

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  19. Thanks for the advice. I hope finally I can get rid of these damn bamboos

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  20. Hi - My friend has bamboo in the backyard and I don't know what type. It takes up a corner of his small lot and I see roots in the ground, as well as new sprouts forming. The bamboo that's full is about 6 ft wide by 10 ft high. What do you suggest? (This was planted by a neighbor that no longer lives in the neighborhood...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can probably get an identification by posting some pictures on the bambooweb forums, and either myself or someone should be able to identify what type you have.

      Here's the forum. http://www.bambooweb.info/bb/

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    2. Thanks - I'll take a pic and post but have a feeling it's a pseudosasa.

      Delete
  21. I'm trying to get rid of a varigated bamboo ground cover. It's taking over the garden & too close to the lawn. I'm finding I have to saw chunks out. Would a roto tiller help to break things up?

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    1. Ground covers are a bit more resistant than regular bamboos, but it does have a weakness in that it can easily be mowed over with the lawn mower on the lowest setting, and if you do it a few times, that should start killing it off since it will be starving the plant of photosynthesis.

      One issue with roto-tilling is that the rhizomes may wrap around your machine like strings. It might just be easier to cut away the edges that are eating into the lawn and garden with a shovel or broad fork, and use a chain saw to cut it away.

      Mowing it all, and laying a dark plastic tarp should do the job too.

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  22. Hi Steve, thanks for the great information.

    My next door neighbors have bamboo growing in their yard right near our yard and you can actually see some of the roots just under the grass growing into our yard. The bamboo was planted by the neighbor before them and is probably 6 to 7 years old. According to your pictures I think it is the first type that you showed Phyllostachys Aureosulcata (yellow groove).

    When I spoke with the current neighbors they were concerned and seemed to know something of the invasiveness of bamboo. The husband has since used some kind of heavy machine to cut the entire bamboo plant down to the ground (but it doesn’t look like he dug down into the ground). Will this be sufficient to kill the roots that we see under the surface of the grass in our yard and prevent the spread of bamboo through our yard? Our neighbors are very nice and seem to want to take care of the problem.

    Your help is much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As long as the neighbors keep the bamboos cut down to the ground as new survival shoots spread out, the underground rhizomes will not have the ability to grow at all because they need photosynthesis from leaves.

      Without any top growth for several months, any species of bamboo will end up rotting away. Some super rare ornamental bamboos would even be killed by one cut down, but if it is any of the ones I have showing in these pictures, they will regrow a few times, each time with smaller and weaker shoots until they run out of energy causing them to rot away under ground.

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    2. Terrific! That's a great relief to hear!

      Thanks so much Steve!

      Delete
  23. Back in January I cut our bamboos down to ground level then dug out the roots and pulled up runners thinking all had been removed so I carried on with doing up the garden putting down gravel slate and made flower borders only to discover just recently I am getting bamboo shoots popping up through the gravel I have pulled them up will they just rot if I keep pulling them up each time they appear ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There were likely long pieces of rhizomes that you missed completely, but if they are fragments, then clear cutting them each time they waste a lot of energy should cause the roots and rhizomes to rot in a couple months if you have true bamboo.


      A lot of people mistake Japanese knotweed for bamboo, and if that's what you had, it will take a couple years to eradicate it by pulling shoots.

      Delete
  24. OK, now that I have removed the bamboo, where can I dispose of it? The county will not allow it in the yard waste or refuse.

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    Replies
    1. If you have space, you could allow it to decompose in a compost pile after drying up. You may also be able to rent a chipper and turning it into mulch.

      So the dump truck simply won't pick the stuff up?

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  25. hope you can help me yet again. sent you a message a while bsck regarding my neighbours bamboo.I have now managed to remove a large chunk hoping that would be the end of it but it sprouting all over my lawn the roots seem to go on for miles will they eventually die hope you can help i'm at my wits end with it. thanks

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Have you ensured that there is a trench separating and severing all the rhizomes from your neighbor's mother grove? Unless they are completely separated, the shoots will continue to have a source of energy.

      It sounds like you have likely severed the rhizomes if there are shoots emerging in the middle of the summer which does not normally happen unless that rhizome section is not attached to any culms. It's best to just let theose shoots sprout to full height, and cut them down to ground level or just knock them down when you mow the lawn. Do you have any pictures? I may be able to tell a lot better seeing what you are dealing with.

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  26. Hi,

    I have a customer who wants me to remove their Bamboo, it is not a huge amount, but would be quicker with a stump grinder - as I have never come across this before, is there any danger Rhizome will be spread around and will reshoot, or should the grinder take care of any living matter, I will then dig around the outside area to remove any trailing roots. Do you think it would also be wise to remove the soil ground if I do decide to stump grind?

    Any help greatly appreciated


    Mark

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    Replies
    1. If you are dealing with the giant tropical clumping type, I would imagine that a stump grinder would work great, but I doubt it would be effective against a running bamboo unless you tear up the entire area with rhizomes which can be very time consuming.

      If your grinder is able to tear the bamboo up into small pieces, it should not re-shoot unless there are larger rhizome sections that get missed because they absolutely need charged rhizome with shoot buds, and roots. If any of the 3 are missing, they cannot regenerate.

      It might be good to chain saw down the main clump, grind that area where there are a mass of roots and rhizomes, then use something like a shovel, steel broadfork, or any other suitable tool to get rid of the rhizomes that run through the lawn. It's not that difficult to do when the ground is wet. Even if re-shooting occurs, it should not be very strong at this time of the year since shooting season has occured not that long ago.

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  27. hi,I have bamboo called pleibtasus 'distichus' in our new garden please cpyld you advise me on the best way to remove it. It is not tall but is covering a lot of ground and plenty of runners al over the rest if the garden any advice would be greatly appreciated thanks

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    Replies
    1. That ground cover in particular will be tougher to remove than even most ground covers because it has tons of tiny rhizomes interwoven in a mat, however it's one weakness is that this type grows very close to the surface of the soil.

      Once you clear cut it with a lawn mower, you can use a shovel or broad fork to dig sections up, and use a reciprocating saw, or something with comparable power to cut up the rhizomes for removal. It should be fairly similar to lawn grass, just 3-4 times bigger. The one difference is that it is tougher to rip apart than grass.

      If you don't really mind waiting a few months, another option is to first clear cut to soil level, then lay black plastic over the soil for the rest of the summer to allow the ground to cook until your ground cover is dead. Adding plenty of water should help too. You can also spray glysophate over the entire area to make sure the rhizomes die off quickly since most of the plant material is close to the surface.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous,
    I planted some bamboo about 10 years ago, not realizing that it would spread like it has. About a year ago, I noticed that the shoots were getting bigger and were actually getting very close to the property line (which is surrounded by a fence. The neighbor's property is basically pasture land, however a lot of it is growing into a wooded area.). I had someone to cut down all of the culms this spring. For about a month I did not notice any new growth, however the last 2 months I have been going out everyday, using a handheld lopper and cutting down any new growth. (right now I can't just run my lawn mower over it, because the culms are still above ground about 2 to 3 inches) (any idea how to get them cut off to the ground, so i can just run the mower over the area)>. Also I have seen new shoots over on my neighbors side of the fence. I am so upset, I know I am going to have to speak with him about this, but I'm not sure how he will take it. I would like to have access to his property to cut back any new growth on his side and/or maybe putting up a barrier around the whole area that I believe the bamboo may have spread if I can afford to do that. (really not sure the cost of this though). The new growth is leafing out as soon as the sprout emerges out of the ground and some of it is more like a small bunch of weeds clumped together. Should I cut it back as soon as it shoots up to stop it from leafing out? I am dealing with this all alone and I am really not dealing with it very well emotionally. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have a bunch of stumps close to the ground that are too big for a lopper to take out, you can try getting one of those battery operated reciprocating saws which can get them down pretty close to ground level so a mower can go over them.

      The $50 cheapest electric chord chain saw will be more than enough too, but both could cut through these stumps like butter.


      If you put a trench between your yard and the neighbor's then knock down the culms on the other side, there shouldn't be much regrowth since the rhizome connections will be severed already. If your neighbor is leaving it alone, chances are that he doesn't even care if they are there.

      For the short weedy growth, you should chop it off once it branches out, but before it leafs out so it can expend its energy. This means you won't have to cut it again.

      Once you get a good idea of the bamboo's growth cycle, it's really not all that hard to control.

      Delete
  29. When using glysophate products, it is important to brush it onto fresh cuts. This may have to be repeated, but will eventually cause the root to die off.

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    Replies
    1. For ground covers, they can still be killed off like a lawn by spraying right into the soil because most types don't grow very deep rhizomes, and the glysophate can still be absorbed through the roots. It is different for bigger bamboos.

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  30. Hi Steve, Have bamboo in backyard that I thought I had contained with cut down plastic garbage can. Have had it maybe about ten years and realized it had no more room to go and had started to grow over garbage can. This past winter killed all that I had that was growing tall so I cut it all back and have been doing what you suggested about keeping everything cut to ground hoping to kill off any new that might take over. Problem is what is now dead I am unable to dig out as it hard like concrete. Tried digging outside garbage can and was able to remove it so tried inside and again no luck. What do you recommend? Would like to plant something else in that spot.

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    1. If you have a bamboo stuck inside a cut garbage can and want to get it out, couldn't you just cut through the roots, and rhizomes with an electric chainsaw?

      It can take a while to rot away. If you plant something like comfrey which is a plant that mines nutrients out of the ground which also grows leaves that can be used as fertilizer for other plants, that should work well.

      I have several dozen comfrey plants growing right now. http://www.bambooweb.info/bb/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6689

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  31. Darn, I wish I had found your blog about 10 years ago, when I bought my house, complete with bamboo privacy screen! I could see that the thick stalks were leaning against the retaining wall at my property line, and had pushed it out a bit, but couldn't figure out what to do about it. Finally . . . you guessed it, 3 years ago they broke the 8' concrete cinder block wall. While it was down, I had a guy come in and cut down the bamboo closest to the wall, creating about a 12" barrier, which the contractor filled with gravel after he constructed a new (expensive!) replacement wall. I just noticed that there are thick stalks leaning against the new wall! Don't know how that happened, but I'm beside myself. And even though the guy created a trench on the other side (closer to my home) and put in a rhizome barrier, somehow the bamboo on that side has cracked the low retaining wall closer to my home, and is spreading out onto the grass. I'd hate to have to remove all of the bamboo, as I do love the beauty and privacy. But there's no way to get to the ones leaning against the 8' retaining wall without clear-cutting my way from the front. Is there a way to save any of the bamboo without losing another 8' cinder-blcok, rebar-reinforced retaining wall?

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    1. I would have to see a picture of what you have going on.

      I think you may have to saw away a lot of what you have, and based on your description, it sounds like you likely have a giant tropical clumping type. If you are in a cool enough climate, it may be better to go with a temperate running phyllostachys type if you have a problem with the rhizome mass cracking your retaining walls.

      If you like the type of bamboo you have, you may have to saw a lot of it away, but it will eventually come right back in after a few years, so you may need to do some annual rhizome pruning each time it gets too big.

      Post some pictures here, and I should get a better idea.

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    2. Steve, I think you're right--I looked at a bunch of Google images and it appears to be either a vulgaris or balcooa. I am in Southern California. While I love the privacy and beauty of these 20 - 30' bamboo, if I can't stop them from breaking another retaining wall, I will reluctantly have to get rid of the whole stand. How can I upload photos so I can show you the configuration of retaining wall, planting space, overgrowth, etc.? Thanks so much for getting right back to me. You are an amazing resource.

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