Running Bamboo - Knowledgebase Question

Jacksonville, Fl
Question by nbirge
February 7, 2011
Our neighbor planted running bamboo. How do we get rid of it in our year? We are losing grass and I assume that is from the runners under the ground. Thanks.


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Answer from NGA
February 7, 2011

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Bamboo is basically a giant grass, so you can visualize 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'. You can starve the roots by keeping the tops continually cut down. If you're persistent the plants will eventually run out of energy to produce new canes because there's no above-ground photosynthesis taking place. Digging the roots is the only sure-fire way of eradicating bamboo. 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 ground will heat up, basically killing the roots. Leave the plastic on for 4 to 6 weeks in the midst of summer heat anssun. Chemical herbicides are least effective; they may kill the tops of the plants but the roots are hardy and will send out new shoots. A root barrier along your property line might be an option, but since bamboo roots go so deep, this can be problematic and expensive. You may want to discuss with your neighbor the possibility of digging a trench along the property line and placing a physical barrier so the bamboo stays on his/her property. It's a difficult situation to say the least. Good luck!

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