Invasive Bamboo

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by Kyo Tochikura, May 7, 2008.

  1. Kyo Tochikura

    Kyo Tochikura Member

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    Hello,

    The house we live has a type of bamboo that runs its roots. It was planted without root barriers by the previous owner some years ago. The problem now is that the bamboo is spreading out roots every directions and, in this time of year, new bamboo sprouts popping out in our lawn areas, nearby planting areaa and some in neighbor's yard. I don't know how long ago the bamboo was planted and how many years it was neglected to cause this invasive roots problem. This could be a common problem after planting bamboo plants without barriers. But, is there anything I can do to stop it? I appreciate your suggestions. Thank you.
     
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    DIG. We have an infestation down in one of our creek areas the land care people are working on and they are constantly digging slashing and I think spraying young growth but I can't be sure of that. I think it will be a case of constant weeding till you can put some inside a root barrier if you still wan't it.

    1. Cut off each stem about 30cm (12") above ground level.
    2. Water and fertilise the clump, using any fertiliser you have on hand.
    3. When vigorous, new growth appears (this will only take a few weeks) treat with a glyphosate based product such as Roundup or Zero. It will also be necessary to locate and treat culms that have suckered in other parts of the garden.
    4. Repeat treatments may be necessary.
    http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsheets/Weeds-and-Garden-Pests/Invasive-Bamboo/148

    Liz
     
  3. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Dynamite???
    Seriously - It took me 5 years to rid myself of a bamboo in Fraser Valley BC. It had got under a concrete retaining wall & lifted the whole thing - I was worried about my carport foundations. The species I had was very resistant to Roundup at recommended concentrations - seemed to like it, in fact. I would try a small area & see if you can find a weedkiller that is effective on the one you have. It could not tolerate regular mowing. I repeatedly cut every piece that showed it's head (tedious) & dug every root I could find. Any root left in place I spot-soaked with a stump-rotting chemical. Each piece of the plant, I burnt (I don't know if you are allowed). Otherwise I would now put it in the Municipal Green waste for high-temperature composting.

    You may be able to inject stems with Glyphosate, if this use is permitted in your area.
    I don't think it a permitted use on BC yet.

    An almost mystical exercise in persistence for me to deal with it. I do miss the lovely canes for plant supports tho'! If I plant it again, I would choose the middle of a large lawn where it would be mowed beyond the range of the suckers.

    gb.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Wall must have not been very solid. This bamboo that resisted glyphosate, did it have narrow grassy leaves and keep its woody stems throughout the year? Or did it have jointed hollow stems bearing heart- or spade-shaped broad leaves, the whole disappearing each fall and growing back again in spring?
     
  5. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Ron, It was the "narrow grassy leaves and keep its woody stems throughout the year?" kind. Height - 10-12'. Stems to a max of 3/4' diam. Flowered once & died back to ground level - then grew again. I never bothered identifying it since I was in the process of destroying it! Ah well, I was a lot younger & more impatient then.
    Hey - the wall was & is pretty solid 2' high concrete. The runners (rhizomes - Hm?) & root mass of the clump got under it & lifted the wall.

    Kyo...what kind of bamboo is your problem plant?

    gb.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Zigzag bamboo (Phyllostachys flexuosa) has flowered and died back in recent years. Before then there was quite a bit of it around this area. Nurseries sometimes sold it as golden bamboo (P. aurea).
     
  7. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    OK Ron - I'm impressed. That looks like very similar to what I had. Should come with a warning label!
     
  8. Kyo Tochikura

    Kyo Tochikura Member

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    Hello,

    For those who responded to my question of 'Invasive Bamboo', my heart goes to you to thank for really good suggestions. I thought I should bring this issue in this forum because it could be a typical problem for many homeowners by mishandling the bamboo planting. It is so ironic because it is such a beautiful plant!! I belive many other readers share the same concerns and learned from you guys by reading your responses.

    Thanks again. I'm gonna start working on my 'bamboo removal' project tomorrow!

    Regards,
    Kyo
     
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Best of luck. They actually do use dynamite down here to remove really big clumps of P. aurea in areas where it's become a problem. It's so bad in some places that it's choking out out native bamboo.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I once saw an entire California city lot with golden(?) bamboo sprouts coming up all over. Looked like it had been cut down and was coming back from the roots.

    Everywhere.
     
  11. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    lorax...I was only joking about the dynamite...honestly.

    gb
     
  12. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    And I'm dead serious. We chop the bamboo down to ground level, then plant two sticks of dynamite and some long fuseline. BLOOOEY. Takes good care of 'em, though.
     
  13. Annell

    Annell Active Member

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    maybe dynamite will work on my bishops weed problem. hhhmmm.....

    We've just discovered bamboo shoots all over my grass too.

    Maybe we all need to get a couple of Pandas?
     
  14. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Try Andean Spectacled Bears, Tremarctos ornatus. They'll be more tolerant of your climate, and they also eat more mature bamboos (whereas Pandas will only eat your shoots)
     
  15. jloftus

    jloftus Member

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    Reading all your comments, I am a little worried. I just planted Plum Passion Heavenly Bamboo that I bought at the Vandusen sale. I had no idea I might need a barrier - didn't get that tip! Do you think that I need to do something, and if so what?
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    No you should be fine it is not a bamboo just has that as a common name. In proper bamboo there are clumping varieties and then there are the runners. They are the problem ones. Not to be planted with gay abandon.

    http://www.paghat.com/nandina.html


    Liz
     
  17. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Most districts and cities don't look to favorably at such tactics here. The county mounties may even pay you a visit.

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  18. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Well, I never said I lived in a totally civilized first world country, now did I? The cops will show up, though, if you don't tell them beforehand what you're doing and incite Article 5. ($5 bribe.)
     
  19. LPN

    LPN Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    There are advantages to such situations ... even with a back handed five dollar bill. Better than a ten bucks I suppose. ;)

    Cheers, LPN.
     
  20. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    ten bucks is a really serious offence. like shooting at deer after midnight.
     
  21. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    How to get rid of bamboo easily

    Hi there, bamboo is much easier to get rid of than most people think and I was dismayed at some of the replies I've seen here and elsewhere. It's actually quite a fragile plant as those of us who are collectors and grow a *lot* of them can attest; the problem is people often don't understand how it "works" and they do all sorts of completely wrong things which ensure it's survival and cause it to spread.

    Bamboo is not invasive without sheer lack of attention and effort on the part of the grower, it's so easy to control it's spread it can be accomplished without *any* barrier and nothing more than a shovel to cut the running roots by slicing through them (no digging) and a few hours twice a year.

    If it's a clumping kind (which yours is not but just for others who might be reading this) then it's not going to spread at all except outwards in a ring tight to the last years growth and requires no maintenance of any kind.

    Do not under any circumstances simply try to bulldoze it away or hack it up, that's the worst possible thing to do if you want to get rid of it because you've turned something easy and simple into a big mess. Spraying it with chemicals is entirely useless if it's a grove of any size and not necessary anyway as there's a *much* easier way to get rid of it:

    Bamboo is all about the root, as long as the root survives the bamboo can put up new shoots which is does ONCE a year in spring over a period of a few weeks (very important to know that). Once it's done shooting for the year it won't shoot any more new culms (culms are the vertical stalks, the above ground part of the plant) the rest of the year until spring comes around again.

    The root is completely dependant on there being green leaves to feed it. Take away the leaves and culms and the whole thing will die in as short as 1 year. Also dead bamboo roots decompose quite quickly into nice compost so if you are smart and careful and patient you can be completely rid of it with minimal effort at all.

    First off the only hard part: Cut *all* the culms down to ground level. Do not leave *any* standing so there is no source of energy for the root. If you have large standing culms use a power tool like a Sawzall reciprocating saw with a fine tooth wood blade and it's much less of a chore. Do it any way you want, drive over them with a truck if you want but just ensure there are no standing culms with leaves on them and do it all at once as much as possible.

    At this point you have a bamboo destined to die, there are no sources of energy to feed the roots, however it will likely have just enough energy left to put up new shoots next spring or possibly some more this year if you cut them down before the shooting period has stopped for the summer.

    Here is where people go wrong and bamboo gets it's entirely undeserved reputation as an invasive weed: they think it's dead at this point because bamboo only shoots once a year, they don't see any more growth so they think they've done all they have to do, however there is still a root mass that may have enough energy to put up new shoots next spring.

    They see the new shoots come up and dont' deal with them immediately and next thing you know there are new leaves and new energy pouring into the root mass.

    The important part is that it will only put up new shoots in the spring and new shoots are the most fragile thing in the world, all you have to do is kick over the tips of the growing shoots or step on them to break them and that's it, it's a dead shoot.

    Once the tip is gone that shoot will not grow any more.

    Just be diligent for a few weeks to go out and check for new shoots and kick them over. By summer it will not be shooting any more and if you're lucky it's dead at this point.

    Now just to be safe make sure to check for new shoots again the following spring.

    That should be it, done without chemicals, bulldozers, dynamite or muss or fuss. :)

    Unless you want a lot of headache for no reason don't bother to dig up any of the dead roots at this point. If you need to dig a hole for planting something just cut the roots at that spot only because they are all going to decay into nice organic matter on their own in a year or two anyway.

    So all in all depending on the size of the grove you have to put in about a day's hard work up front then a little bit of walking around looking for new shoots in spring and it's done.
     
  22. dogfish

    dogfish Member

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    My neighbor has this stuff too - i get shoots coming up all summer long in my yard. I dig each sucker out and by the next weekend I have another 20 to dig. Given that the bamboo on his side of the fence is large and healthy and supplying the roots with lots of nutrients, and there are no barries to the roots, do I have a chance in hell of ever stopping these shoots from spreading across my lawn?
     
  23. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    No bamboo shoots all summer although it conceivably might if it's in some kind of survival mode but it certainly won't grow 20 new shoots the next day, other plants might though. Are you sure it's bamboo? A picture would be very helpful.

    If it is bamboo, all you have to do is follow the shoots back as they are all tied to a single underground runner if they are inline with each other, across to your neighbors yard and stick a shovel through the running underground rhizome to slice it off. It will then send out new shoots perpendicular to the tip of the severed runner, i.e. along side your yard, not into it. If you sever it then kick over any new shoots that come up on your side problem solved. There should be *no* need for digging in your yard. New bamboo shoots are very fragile, simply kicking them over or stepping on the tip when you see them come up kills that shoot permanently.

    On the other hand if it's not bamboo all bets are off. If it has very large leaves and dies back in the winter it's likely Japanese Knotweed which is *much* more invasive than bamboo but also spreads by underground rhizomes. Most bamboos that do well in our environment are evergreen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  24. dogfish

    dogfish Member

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    It won't shoot up 20 new ones by the next day, but it will by the next week.
    It is the sort of bamboo that grows about 15 ft or so, lots of fairly large leaves (maybe 10cm by 5cm) and dies back in the winter; I just looked it up in Wikipedia and it does look a lot like the Japanese knotweed
    I will try tracing back the root and severing it off at the fence
     
  25. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    That's what I suspected. Not bamboo at all. Bamboo is much easier to deal with. There's a topic in this forum of Garden Pest Management at the top regarding knotweed with a link on how to get rid of it. Everything I said earlier probably won't work with knotweed, I think it grows differently than bamboo.

    If you have a look at that topic it contains info on dealing with knotweed.
     

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