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Rampant bamboo

We have a very large rampant bamboo in our  garden. I realise that there is no getting rid of it easily so I was wondering if I can corral it into certain more acceptable ! areas.

Will regularly  cutting down all the growth in a particular place encourage it to move into another space so that I can edge it away from my flower borders into a less formal space ?



  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    If you have a runner it's almost impossible to stop without a physical barrier. Cutting down new stems just encourages it to run further. You can dig them out they're shallow rooted, it's a job and a half but it can be done. If you want to keep it you need a bamboo control system. Or you can use perspex sheeting as a cheaper alternative. Treating emerging stems with glyphosate weed killer is feasible but to be honest I prefer to dig them out. 

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,045

    Bamboo doesn't generally root very deeply so, with a lot of effort, you can probably at least get the majority of it out.  I had a bamboo which had been nicely constrained in a bed for many years until I had some work done and the muppets removed the timber which had been containing it.  I didn't know the timber had been removed for a couple of years until shoots started to appear in the lawn.  I traced the runners back to the main plant and have managed to remove the vast majority, including the main plant.

    Doubtless some will raise their heads this year but I'll repeat the exercise and remove as much as possible.

    Cutting down growth will probably encourage it to throw out even more runners which is the last thing your really want.  If you cut down the top growth it will give access to get in around the parts under ground and remove them.

  • Thanks so much for this useful advice Dave and KT53

  • ..and thank you Verdun . We only moved here 2 years ago and were pleased to have a bamboo but not so much now !!

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,045

    It looks as if I've just repeated everything Dave Morgan said.  We must have been posting at the same time, but at least you have 2 answers saying much the same thing.

    The Phyllostachys bamboo I dug out was certainly shallow rooted, nothing more than about 6 to 9 inches deep.  It isn't roots which will grow under garages, patios etc it is the runners.  When they hit an obstruction they will try to find a way past.  If the line of least resistance is down and under then they will go that way.  In my case, because they were just growing through soil, none of the runners were more than 3 or 4 inches below the surface.

    I wrote to a specialist bamboo nursery asking for their advice on getting rid of one and they advised digging out as much as possible.  Weedkillers are limited in their effectiveness because of the shiny surface of the bamboo.  The weedkiller had difficulty adhering to, and getting through, that coating.

    What might work would be to put the growing tip into a jar containing strong weedkiller in the hope that it would be absorbed through the soft tip.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    If bamboo is unobstructed it is shallow rooted, like all roots it takes the path of least resistance, and in Hilary's situation it more than likely is and I'm well aware that it can go deeper and I too have had to remove some deep roots, the deepest I got down too was about 30 inches. I've been asked to plant bamboos for clients and have refused if they haven't invested in a control system first. It should carry big warning sign, just like leyllandii as both can cause structural damage to walls and foundation's. Pretty in the right spot but plants to be wary of.

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Well my view is if I planted it and it got out of control I'd only have to go back and fix it or dig it up! I often have to be brutally honest with some people, but they tend to respect you more for it in the end. And I'd rather dig out a bamboo than a pampas grass, another one that if in the wrong place is a pain in the a** .  And yes you can get them online and easy to install and saves a lot of heart ache. Always like our chats Verdun, we're very much on the same wavelength. Oh by the way, ordered some of the salvia's you suggested, ugh, need a lie down just thinking of themimage

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