I absolutely love beautiful bamboo plants! They are the epitome of Zen in your garden. They have a serene green color, and its stalks and leaves sway magnificently in the wind.
People often wonder if bamboo is a grass or a tree. Bamboo is part of the Poaceae plant family, which is a family of grass plants, but did you know that some varieties of bamboo can grow up to 100 feet tall?
In fact, giant bamboo is the largest members of the grass family. This is probably why a lot of people often mistake bamboo as a tree.
Bamboo grow well in warm, tropical, and humid climates. Depending on the variety of bamboo planted, it will need either shade, full sun, or partial sun too in order to flourish.
However, sometimes bamboo can end up growing too well and get out of control. When this happens, you will need to stop this grass from spreading.
Below are 5 simple solutions detailing how to stop bamboo from spreading:
Once your bamboo starts to grow out of control, the most effective method to stop bamboo from spreading is through pruning.
I would recommend doing this twice a year, although you will only need to do this once a year if your bamboo is already under control after a annual pruning session.
When pruning your bamboo thicket, you will need to assess the exact portion of your bamboo thicket that you want to keep. Afterwards, prepare a sharp gardening tool that you can use to get rid of the remaining bamboo roots.
The following are the steps involved in pruning your bamboo:
- First, you will need to isolate the part you intend to chop off. You will need to sever the rhizomes or spreading bamboo roots with any sharp gardening tool such as a spade. Luckily, the rhizomes are very shallowly rooted and usually grow in loose topsoil only 2 to 5 inches below the surface.
- Next, you need to cut the rhizomes up to 2 feet from the part you intend to keep. Be sure to leave healthy rhizome attached to the bamboo so that new shoots can grow.
- Finally, look around the area and remove any other rhizomes that are outside of your bamboo area. You want to make sure to completely get rid of any stray rhizomes because they can rejuvenate and become full bamboo in no time.
But what do you do with the bamboo that you cut down? You know what I love even more than bamboo? The giant pandas who eat them! In fact, a panda’s diet consists almost entirely of bamboo – the leaves, the stems, and the shoots!
The majestic giant panda munching away on the bamboo – its favorite food.
But unfortunately, they contain a very little nutritional value, so pandas must eat around 12 to 38 kg of bamboo each to meet their daily energy needs. Since we’re on this subject, keeping a pet panda is also a good method of how to stop bamboo from spreading!
2. Containing And Isolating Your Bamboo
This is a solution for how to stop bamboo from spreading that requires careful preparation and planning. Before you start planting your bamboo thicket, you will need to plan how big you want it to be and its exact placement.
One way you can control your bamboo’s growth is by digging a ditch around it. This will control the spread of your bamboo because they will not be able to extend outside of the ditch.
You can also contain your bamboo within a stream. Similar to the ditch method, the bamboo will not be able to grow outside of the stream.
3. Opt For A Controlled Species Of Bamboo
Prevention is key and choosing the kind of species of bamboo is another method of stopping bamboo from spreading. One non-invasive bamboo variety is clumping bamboo. Clumping bamboo stay put and do not tend to scatter past their original planting area.
Although usually tropical in nature, the genus Farfresia can grow in areas up to 20 degrees below zero. They are also mountain bamboo that doesn’t grow well in full sun. If you plan to plant clumping bamboo, be sure to put it in an area that is partially shaded.
4. Putting A Barrier Around Your Bamboo
You can use a variety of material for your bamboo barrier, including, wood, concrete, metal, and even plastic. You should erect your barrier when you first plant your bamboo.
There are two common types of bamboo barriers used to stop bamboo from spreading – an open sided barrier and a fully enclosed barrier.
Installing An Open Sided Barrier
Enclosed in an open sided barrier, bamboo looks stunning when controlled.
If you opt to install an open sided barrier, you will need to annually prune the open side of your barrier. Having an open-sided barrier is a good choice for bamboo cultivation because it still always the bamboo to thrive.
Using A Fully Enclosed Barrier
A fully enclosed barrier is ideal for marking pathways in bamboo forests.
A fully enclosed barrier is another option to stop bamboo from spreading. However, if your barrier is not installed properly, the bamboo can continue to grow out of control and even ruin your barrier.
5. Chemical And Organic Control
Another method for how to stop bamboo from spreading is through the use of chemical herbicides.
If you opt to kill your bamboo using chemicals, get the strongest herbicide you can buy. I wouldn’t recommend this method because you are putting your other bamboo and your health at risk.
An organic method to prevent bamboo from spreading is by pouring boiling water on the roots. This method requires some precision since it can also damage the rest of your bamboo plant if done correctly.
Also, do be careful when pouring boiling water on to your bamboo because the water might burn you.
What If The Bamboo Is Courtesy Of A Neighbor?
While it’s easy to control your own garden, it can be tricky to deal with neighbors who refuse to keep their bamboo plants under control. After all, you likely don’t want to start a war with the person who lives just next door.
The first step would be to reach out to the neighbor and be honest about your concerns. Keep the conversation civilized and suggest some of the solutions we recommended so far. If they’re willing to come up with a plan that will ensure the bamboo won’t spread to your land anymore, great. But what if they refuse to cooperate?
The simplest solution in this case would be #4 – building a sturdy barrier that separates your land from your neighbor’s. Hopefully, that will be enough to keep the bamboo from reaching over to your side. If it doesn’t, you can try some of the more drastic measures listed above.
Bamboo is a very beautiful and serene plant. It gives your garden a very Asian and Zen-like appeal to it.
If you want to have bamboo in your garden, plan accordingly, otherwise be prepared to regularly prune and kill the roots because bamboo can really spread like wildfire if left on its own.
If you have comments and suggestions or know any other methods about bamboo control, please don’t hesitate to share!
I would love to have a start of bamboo 🙂
Really, Penny? You should start growing bamboo as soon as possible, then!
Something definitely worth thinking about, I have some on my front & it pops up all around, at some point i’m going to have to dig the whole border out I guess, it’s surprising how far the roots do spread.
That sounds like quite a trouble for you, Linda. Really, bamboo can be very hard to control at some point. The best thing that you can do to control the growth of your bamboo plants is to dig the whole border of the plant, including its roots. If you don’t want to be troubled with the uncontrollable growth of bamboo again, make sure that you get every part of the plant out from the soil.
It’s best grown in tubs, it does well like that and stops it taking over the whole garden! My grandmother put a small plant in a few years back and her garden is practically attracting pandas now…
That’s right, Sophie. Planting bamboo in tubes is a good idea to minimize its uncontrollable growth that can take over your entire garden.
I have golden groove bamboo. It won’t pop up until spring. I can dig some then.
Golden groove bamboo plants really don’t pop until the spring season. You’re right, Ed. That’s the perfect time for you to dig some parts of your bamboo to control them in the following seasons.