OK, after chipping away at the task for weeks & weeks, the gardener
(and I) have removed all the bamboo. What is now left is stalk stubs,
and -- one assumes -- a whole underworld of roots.
Note that this was not "spreading" bamboo; I deliberately
chose a "clumping" bamboo. However, the protective "leaf" litter
cluttered everything, and the bamboo had to be cut back constantly.
Plant has just outlived its usefulness, though it did screen the
trash area. Will now have to find something that will do the same
job, but not become such a nuisance.
I browsed under keyword "bamboo removal" and
found many user comments at:
ranging from burning to Roundup to ..utter despair.
Not clear whether they were on about clumping or spreading.
in more practical terms, listing tools required and advising
Have never tackled any enterprise as menacing as this.
Your wisdom solicited:
1. How deeply rooted is clumping bamboo?
2. Can mere humans dig up the roots after thoroughly
moistening the soil?
3. If not, what kind of "professional" help would be
required -- one hopes not too expen$ive.
Wait until new shoots appear. Then spray them with an herbicide that is
specific to grass. I use Poast, but others should be available. I mix
liquid soap into the spray as a wetting agent. You may have to treat
new shoots 3 or more times to get final control.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
Don't know about clumping. Most of the rhizomes of running bamboo are
within the top 12 inches or so (maybe more like 6). You'll find them
easily enough if you start digging and follow the rhizomes.
Yes. We dug out a bed which was maybe 5 feet by 40 feet, which was
fairly densely populated with running bamboo (both above and below
ground). Takes some time, and you'll probably end up disturbing most
of the soil. If there are any plants you want to keep in the area,
you'll probably end up digging them up in the process and replanting.
We mostly used a trenching shovel which is durable enough to function
as a pry bar too (unlike, say, a spade).
This was a few afternoons of hard work, but after that we just needed
to watch for shoots coming up, and dig out the little rhizome piece we
had missed in each case. (we didn't do the "break off the shoot"
technique, as the roots we missed the first time were small and it was
simple enough to dig them out).
You can see if any bamboo nurseries around you would be interested.
At least, http://www.bamboosourcery.com/catalog_sec.cfm?row=4 says "We
also occasionally remove unwanted bamboo free of charge upon request,
if we have time and have a use for it." Don't know if this is common,
and it is clear that there are various catches.
In my experience (with bamboo and other unwanted plants) the key is
spending some time at it and persistence. If you are thinking that a
one-time low-effort treatment (whether chemical, digging, mowing,
tarps, etc) will get everything, it is easy to succumb to despair.
But if you are prepared to get out most of it, and then go back every
week or a few, digging up whatever came up in the meantime, you have a
bit more of a chance.
Was it a tropical clumper (Likely a Bambusa) or a mountain clumper (Likely a
If it was a mountain clumper the rhizomes should be in the top 6 inches of
soil but the roots will run deeper. The best way to remove the rhizomes if
you do not care about the plant is start at the outside of the clump with a
shovel and under cut the clump. if your shovel is sharp you can use it to
cut the clump to make it easier to remove. You could also use an axe or
reciprocating saw to cut up the clump.
Tropical clumpers have larger rhizomes and run deeper but you can remove it
the same way.
It also helps if you can use a jet of water to remove the dirt from around
the rhizomes then you can use loppers to cut the rhizomes and remove smaller
sections of the clump.
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