Bamboo for mulch???

Asked December 21, 2020, 1:58 PM EST

Help! I inherited a horrible spreading bamboo problem in my backyard. I have had estimates for removal ($$$$) that involve stump grinding the roots. I've been told that I can mulch it. Is this true? I envision the bamboo returning all over my yard.
Can the roots, shoots, shafts, and leaves be used for mulch?
Thank you!!

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

If the bamboo originates on your property you can successfully remove it but expect it to take some time and energy. If it is also on a neighbor’s property and invading yours you might have a more difficult time controlling it.

Bamboos are fairly shallow rooted like other grasses but the rhizomes could branch out from the main clump by up to 100 feet. All of the rootstock is horizontal to the ground and generally no more than 1-2 feett deep. You didn’t mention the size of the bamboo patch but that might factor into the equation when planning a removal method and time frame. Go around the perimeter of the entire clump and sever the roots if the size of the clump is too large to manage all at once. Then, in each section, remove all of the canes as close to the ground as possible, then sever and remove the root stock. If any root stock remains in the ground be sure to cut the canes back to the ground again before the canes reach a foot or so. Because bamboo is a grass, it can be mowed to remove the foliage. This will eventually kill established plants because you will be exhausting the energy bank any roots underground by preventing photosynthesis (no leaves=no photosynthesis=no new energy to roots). This process could take a year or more of devotion. If you decide to mulch you would need a very heavy application as you remove the root stock from each section and the mulch could get in the way of seeing and removing new growth.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to remove the bamboo only by using mulch but aAs to your second question the bamboo canes and foliage can be converted into mulch.