The Q&A Archives: Bamboo

Question: We live in the north county and there is a river in our back lawn. Our house and the river are separated by a small wooded area we like except for some very agressive bamboo that is growing into the lawn and my back yard garden. Is there a way to control or get rid of it?

Answer: In some cases an invasive bamboo can be controlled by installing an underground barrier to deflect the new running shoots upward where they can be removed periodically while they are still small and close to the source. In other cases it is better to try to eradicate it altogether. Digging out all the roots is one option; mowing it down and keeping it cut down will eventually starve out the roots. A third option is a chemical vegetation killer. Since the bamboo is growing near a river, you'll want to be careful with chemicals. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that will kill anything it touches, but it also does not translocate in the soil and it readily breaks down in the presence of sunlight and fresh air. Since it will kill anything it touches, you'll need to selectively apply it to only the bamboo and you'll probably have to make several applications. I would cut the bamboo stalks and then paint each individual culm stump with Round Up. The chemical should be transported down to the roots and kill off at least that part of the root. As new shoots emerge, repeat the process. As long as you apply according to label directions, you shouldn't harm the desireable plants in the wooded area and the product should not end up the the river.

Best wishes with your eradication project!

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