Can you kill off a bamboo incursion ?

Asked May 3, 2019, 2:42 PM EDT

A former neighbor hired a landscape architect to upgrade her front and back yard. When we questioned the bamboo, the architect assured the neighbors on either side of said property that she was going to plant the bamboo in garbage cans to contain them. She did, in plastic cans. Bamboo has appeared on both properties 8 and 12 feet away from property lines.Neighbor on left stopped counting at 55,the number of spears that came up in her yard. I have cut the spears to ground level,used a funnel to pour vinegar in the hole that is present.Do you have an effective solution besides hiring a backhoe to dig up the roots. It is getting worse every year.

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

Hi- it appears that a running type of bamboo was planted rather than a clumping type. All running bamboo species eventually become invasive in MD landscapes. It is rare to find a homeowner who has successfully contained it and can co-exist with a bamboo stand. There is a thick butyl rubber barrier that has been used successfully as a 3 ft. deep soil barrier (similar to a pond liner).

The bamboo rhizomes simply grew through the drainage holes in the buried trash can or perhaps the trash can cracked or split due to freezing/thawing action of the soil.

Cutting down all of the culms and digging/removing the rhizomes would be the surest way to remove the bamboo. You'll have to be vigilant for a few years afterwards to remove any remaining root pieces that produce new shoots.

There are other approaches (see links below) including alternative involves cutting the culms down in spring/summer and spraying/painting foliage in late summer with a non-selective herbicide.

Thank you for your quick response and the links to additional resources. I am sorry that I have not responded sooner but on May 17th, I had emergency surgery and was hospitalized and sent to rehab until June 12th.