The Q&A Archives: Stopping Bamboo

Question: Bamboo is taking over my yard. Can you tell me how to get rid of it? I'm told that it could take over my whole yard if I don't do something about it.

Answer: To some extent the problem depends on the variety of bamboo you have. Some are much more aggressive than others, and some are much more susceptible to cold than others. In some cases a particularly cold winter will set a clump back noticeably while mild winters will allow it to advance

.If you think of bamboo as a giant grass, you'll
understand how it spreads through roots and rhizomes. Not
all bamboos are invasive, but the running types of bamboo have root masses that travel 3'-4' deep, and spread 15'-20'.Unfortunately, digging the roots is the
only sure-fire way of eradicating bamboo, but keeping the tops cut down is a good first step in controlling it. If you're persistent the plants will eventually run
out of energy to produce new canes. Mowing often in the spring when the new shoots are appearing can also help limit its spread. You might be able to speed the process by covering the soil
with black plastic after cutting down the tops of the plants. If
the area gets a lot of direct sunshine, the plastic will help
sterilize the soil and kill the roots. Chemical herbicides are
least effective; they may kill the tops of the plants but the
roots are hardy and will send out new shoots. Finally, there are commercially made barriers for containing bamboo, you might consider installing one of these systems to keep it from spreading further.

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