The Q&A Archives: Golden Bamboo root growth/spreading

Question: I would like to find out how to prevent the underground wild spreading of roots from this bamboo. Also, how deep of a concrete border would I have to construct in order to prevent this spreading. Thank you.

Answer: There are several ways to control the spread of a running bamboo, but they all require that you keep an eye on the situation over the long term. Depending on your soil type, the rhizomes may be up to three feet deep.

To control the spread, you can cut off or kick over the new growth tips each spring. This can be effective if the bamboo is in the center of a mowed area for instance where access is easy.

You can dig a trench around it and cut off any rhizomes that try to cross the trench.

Or, you can install a root barrier. Modern recommendations usually suggest thick and sturdy but flexible (eg 40 mil) plastic for this as it is easier to install than concrete. You can also use a metal barrier. The barrier should be angled outward at the top to deflect runners up to the surface where you can cut them off.

If you have a limited space, bamboo may not be the best choice for your planting spot.

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