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How to Stop Bamboo from Spreading

How to Stop Bamboo from Spreading

Bamboo has many practical uses when added to landscaping. For example, in your landscape, it can be used as a windbreak, privacy barrier, and as a measure to control erosion.

The above are bamboos‘ finer qualities, but they have a bad side. If left unattended, bamboo can go wild and take over your yard, your neighbors, yard, and so forth down the line.

If you know that it can be invasive before you plant it, you can plan how to contain your bamboo.

You will learn here that there are two types of bamboo, also. The kind of bamboo you plant is a significant factor in ease of control.


How to stop bamboo from spreading?

One method of controlling the spread of bamboo is by pruning the roots. Then, using a sharp spade, an ax, or a saw, cut the roots of the bamboo around the perimeter of the area in which they live. Dig a deep trench around your stand of bamboo, and place a physical barrier below the ground. 


Varieties of Bamboo

There are several varieties of bamboo, and the roots of some grow in clumps, while others trail and plant themselves along the way. If you are planting bamboo for the first time, find a variety that grows in clusters.

Trailing varieties of bamboo are regulated in some states, and you cannot plant it within 100 feet of your neighbor’s property. It can be that invasive.

So, if you choose the kind of bamboo you want in your yard, choose a clumping variety. If you already have trailing bamboo, you need to do your best to contain it, or it will take over.

Both varieties will spread. Even the clumping type, if left unattended, will creep into new areas of your garden.

However, you can stop bamboo creep before it starts, by making plans to keep it contained.


Ways to Contain Bamboo Besides in a Pot

No matter the steps you take to keep your bamboo from spreading, you will need to start by cutting the roots around the perimeter of the bamboo area.

This will require the use of a sharp shovel, an ax, and perhaps a saw.

Start digging about a foot away from where your bamboo is planted. It’s possible you’ll need to dig down a foot or so before you find roots. If you find nothing, move closer to the bamboo and try again.

Once you find the white fleshy rhizome of the plant, cut through it, and remove it from the trench.

If you maintain a shallow trench around your bamboo, you can check it a couple of times a year for rhizomes trying to cross over and spread.

If you fill the trench with gravel or sand, the roots will still be allowed to grow but will give you easy access to them for easier pruning.


Plant your Bamboo on a Raised Bed

Planting your bamboo in raised areas in your yard will help keep it contained while adding an interesting visual effect to your landscape.

Bamboo planted on raised beds is easier to maintain than when planted flush with the ground.

That is because the rhizomes that shoot out from the bamboo will find themselves suspended in the open air, which is an ineffectual growth medium for bamboo.

Any rhizomes that find their way out of the hill can be easily clipped away. In addition, planting on raised areas is much less labor-intensive than installing physical root barriers.


Physical Barriers can Stop Bamboo from Spreading

I mentioned two types of barrier, sand, and gravel that you can place around your bamboo to keep it from spreading. There is another solution, though, used by many growers.

If you place a physical barrier in the trench that must be dug for pruning, you won’t need to worry about bamboo creeping. Well, except when it’s time to transplant.

If you stop the spread of bamboo, it will get root bound if not attended to.

About that barrier, you can use a commercial product designed for the specific purpose of stopping bamboo from spreading or come up with a creative solution of your own.

No matter how you control the spread of your bamboo, any material you use needs to be where water can drain over it or under it. Bamboo can get root rot if its feet stay too wet.


Other Kinds of Bamboo Barrier

Most bamboo barriers are made of tough plastic that should last many years. Bamboo barriers can be fiberglass, plastic, concrete, or sheet metal for the more frugal gardener.

Of course, metal will eventually rust, and even plastics break down over time. However, any type of barrier that can save you the backbreaking job of annual root pruning is worth it.

Even if your bamboo barrier doesn’t last, but five years, that’s five years that you don’t need to prune as much.


Frequently Asked Questions on How to Stop Bamboo from Spreading


What kinds of bamboo are clumping varieties?

A few clumping varieties of bamboo include Sea breeze bamboo, Alphonse Karr, Golden Goddess, Tiny Fern, Silk bamboo, and Weaver’s bamboo. If you can find one of these clumping types of bamboo, containing bamboo spread will be easier. This type of bamboo is not labor-free, mind you, but it is easier to maintain than running varieties.


Can the removed rhizomes be transplanted?

You can transplant the removed rhizomes, but you need to keep them moist after cutting them free from a root clump. If you don’t, root sections will die before you can get them planted.