A widow friend of mine in Montgomery County has a real problem. She has bamboo in her yard which originated from her neighbor. It has managed to take over her yard and is spreading everywhere out of control. Is there any way to stop it and kill that which has already taken over her yard? What herbicide should she use that is most effective? Will it take more than one application? I will be doing the work for her. What grass she once had is no longer there
Controlling bamboo is not an easy undertaking. Restricting unwanted bamboo spread can be accomplished through sturdy barriers and by cutting back new shoots. In Maryland, bamboo has a distinct period of shooting, March through May. If cut back at this time, new shoots will not grow. To prevent the bamboo from spreading from your neighbors yard the best solution is installing a barrier (heavy grade butyl rubber) in the soil. Even a barrier needs to be inspected periodically to make sure the bamboo does not “jump” over it. Annual trenching around the clump and careful removal of all traces of the rhizomes will contain it as well. Please see the following short video on the subject http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx6WXjnO24Y
and our archived Newsletter of Summer 2012 http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/HGICeNewCovers/HGICENewsSummer201...
If you want to eliminate an existing stand of bamboo, this is a two step process. Cut all the stalks to the ground and allow the new growth to emerge and develop leaves during the summer. In October spray the mature foliage with a non-selective herbicide containing glyphosate. (There are some glyphosate products labeled for bamboo). Repeat the application in 14 days. Follow all label directions and be careful to protect non-target plants from any over spray." This may need to be repeated for several seasons. Bamboo is semi-evergreen and has a waxy coating on the stems and leaves, so a surfactant (helps the herbicide stick to the leaves) is advisable. If any bamboo is left alive, it will return. See our bamboo publication http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG28%20Bamboo.pdf mh