The Q&A Archives: Bamboo

Question: How do I get rid of Bamboo without killing my other perennials? I've tried pulling it out but they grow horizontially and usuually break before I get it out entirely.

Answer: 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'. Keeping the tops cut down is a good first step in controlling the bamboo. If you're persistent the plants will eventually run out of energy to produce new canes. Digging the roots is the only sure-fire way of eradicating bamboo. Starving the roots by keeping the tops continually cut down is another option. 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. Good luck with your project!

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