Forum home Problem solving

Overgrown bamboo management

Hi, I have a large area of overgrown bamboo that I be inherited in my new garden. My intention was to reduce it's height, cut it back and thin it out. However, it is so dense that thinning out is very difficult. It's shoots have also grown under some of the bricks of the terrace which it is next to, so I'm a bit worried it may damage my house if not cut back or completely removed. After cutting some of it back I have been left with the rhizome which is fairly large and protrudes further from the base than Id like, so wondering if anyone has any advice on how I I should approach getting this under control and tidied up. Or if best to completely remove if it is going to be a lengthy battle! It is about 15 ft high.


  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,710
    I would advise complete removal because once they begin to spread, as that one has, they become complete thugs.  When I removed mine I used the following process - cut the lot down to about 3 feet high.  That left enough to get a good grip on when I finally reached the stage of pulling it out. 
    Once cut back I used a pickaxe to create a trench all around it, about a foot deep, and then undercut the bamboo too.  The rhizomes and runners don't generally go very deep.
    Finally look for points along it where there is enough room to get the pick in and divide it into smaller sections.  I would suggest no more than about 2 feet long, and work on each section separately.  It is a major task so allow yourself plenty of time as it's unlikely you will be able to get it all out in one go.
    You will probably have some runners which have already escaped and you also need to remove as many of those as possible.  I was lucky that mine was surrounded by lawn and flower beds so runners were comparatively easy to spot and remove.
  • Thanks KT53. I think your right that completely removing is the best option. Do you have any recommendation on tools for cutting. I'm using lopers, but progress is fairly slow? Also, any tips on what to do with the cut bamboo? Quite difficult to transport at its full length, but want to avoid having to cut each stem multiple times. 
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,710
    For getting rid of the cut bamboo, try to find any gardening clubs in your area and they will probably take them if you cut into 8 foot or 10 foot lengths.  That's how I got rid of mine.
    I'm afraid it is a job for loppers to cut back the stems and I used a combination of mattock/pick, axe and saw to reduce the base growth into manageable chunks.  The base growth is comparatively soft and easy to get through with an axe, just make sure you have a clear area to bring the axe down through.  A deflected axe moving at speed is not something you want to get in the way of.  I managed to retain all limbs and digits :-)
    It is hard work, but immensely satisfying when you finally win.
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    the only way i'd consider getting rid of that lump is either get a company in to remove it (and pay through the nose) or cut it to the ground and use glyphosate on any new growth and leave the roots in the ground.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,543
    Get as much of the root mass up as possible and be prepared to spray regrowth with Glyphosate. It does look quite nice; I'd save some chunks of it to grow in a large container, where it's safe from spreading. You could pot up bits of it and sell them on Ebay/Gumtree.
  • Glyphosate is a bad suggestion for bamboo.  Despite the obvious environmental and health issues with it, it's unlikely to effectively kill such well established bamboo and it's actually more effort than just chopping the new growth off with loppers!
    Even if it does kill it you still have the root blocks and these become so compacted that you can't dig into them to plant anything else.  They'll take years to rot away too.

    The best bet is to chop it down at the base then hack/chop/dig the root out (or find someone strong who is willing to do it for you)
  • Richard168Richard168 Posts: 115

    You will only make it angry, you don't want an angry bamboo :)

    Seriously I would agree the only option is to take it out with a lot of backbreaking work or you could move house again

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,543
    Glyphosate is a bad suggestion for bamboo.  Despite the obvious environmental and health issues with it, it's unlikely to effectively kill such well established bamboo and it's actually more effort than just chopping the new growth off with loppers!
    Which is why I would suggest digging up the main root block then treating any runners that pop up (and they will) with Glyphosate. The problem is that the runners will be under hard paving etc where you can't just dig them out.
  • EnnylEnnyl Posts: 24


    I had a similar problem in my previous house with bamboo spreading from next door. I lopped down as close to soil level as I could and then soaked cotton wool in glyphosphate and packed the hollow stem with the cotton wool. I agree that not environmentally friendly but more focused than spraying - and it worked.

  • UpNorthUpNorth Posts: 376
    i'd love to have a bamboo like that.   match it up with some Japanese Maples, hostas, ferms.  it doesn't look to be doing any harm.   

    anyway if you're adamant you don't like it, then suggest pot up what might be a dozen or more plants there and gift or sell them away.  they go for about £40 in a garden centre for even the most common bamboo.  does need large pots.  and you'd need to wait six months to ensure it's thriving away in it's pots, but it's worth it.    make the pots up with free draining soil.  Alternative...where are you?   advertise 'buyer digs out' here and someone will probably have it away for free if they're doing the hard digging!
Sign In or Register to comment.