Invasive bamboo

Asked March 7, 2017, 9:23 AM EST

Good Morning, About 15 years ago, my neighbor planted bamboo and now it is all around me. It has spread to the yard behind them, behind me and now is working its way toward me. Is there anything I can do to stop this? I have dug up several shoots that I have seen at the top of my yard. I would appreciate some advice if there is any to give. Thank You,

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

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

and our archived Newsletter of Summer 2012

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