Killing bamboo with Roundup

als2002May 10, 2008

I live in a rural area of NY, zone 5-6 and have been growing a running variety of bamboo for 10+ years. I don't know the variety. It's around 15' high now and the grove is around 50'x100'.

There are several issues. First, I have my power lines and propane line running under the bamboo. (One reason I planted it in the first place was to shield the propane tank from view.) The rhizomes I've dug haven't been very deep. Generally a foot to 18". The soil is fairly shallow here but I think the contractors put the electric and propane lines as deep as they could get them, probably three feet. Is there any danger posed by the bamboo to these lines?

How about if the bamboo rhizomes get near to our well head? ItÂs 20Â away from the patch.

Secondly, the bamboo comes 20Â or so from a rock wall thatÂs my boundary line. ThereÂs nothing but forest and field on the other side, but I want to keep the bamboo from getting loose. IÂve begun to trench it. For the rhizomes that have gone beyond the trench, IÂve been thinking of waiting until fall, cutting the rhizomes and painting the ends of the parts that I want to die with Roundup. IÂve heard about cutting the rhizomes to kill them and IÂve also heard of using Roundup either to spray the leaves or paint the roots, in order to kill whole patches. But IÂve never read of anyone cutting the rhizomes and then using Roundup to insure they will die in the ground. Any opinions whether this might be more effective than just cutting the rhizomes?

On the lawn side IÂm going to cut the shoots and cook them. In fall should I also cut the rhizomes or will mowing keep them generally in check?

I would like the existing culms to get as much energy as possible. The parent grove had 35Â culms two or more inches in diameter. If the rhizomes run under the ground will that provide more energy to the existing culms without destroying the lawn or nearby trees?

There is shrubbery and trees close to the bamboo patch. I have two plum trees and an Asian pear right next to the patch. IÂm sure the bamboo rhizomes are fully intertwined with their roots by now. ThereÂs also a maple 15Â or so feet from the patch. Will the bamboo eventually kill these trees?

Thanks,

Al

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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

There is no danger to your lines. Bamboo rhizomes stay close to the surface. They're not going to dive down and somehow mess up your lines.

As for removal, utilize trenching only as there are no known herbicides that will kill bamboo, including Roundup. If you cut the rhizomes, and they have not had time to get established, they will die beyond the cut line. I have many varieties of running bamboo and I rhizome prune once a year for control. Once in a while I have to pull out the chopped-off part because it has started to send up new culms.

The rhizomes are not going to kill your fruit trees, but I wouldn't want culms coming up around mine (aesthetics; light blockage, etc.). If they have not come up near the fruit trees, then they have not infiltrated the trees' root structure much, it at all, so trench or chop the rhizomes.

One further suggestion for you. Fill your trenches with bark or sand or something soft like that: you will be able to more easily detect new rhizomes and chop them with a sharp spade.

Those were good questions, but you need to be a little less worried. Bamboo can be a real problem when allowed to get out of control, but it is not the monster of urban legends that many people think it is. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: ABS: Removing Bamboo

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 11:12AM
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raehyg(z7NY)

I am new to this forum, but why don't you sell or trade it instead of killing it? Many people including myself would love to

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 5:17PM
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als2002

Thank you for your replies.

raehyg, IÂm mostly talking here about keeping the bamboo where I want it, not removing large pieces. I did once speak to the owner of a nursery but they werenÂt interested in buying/selling it. I gave away some but in general the people who say they would love to plant bamboo never get around to showing up and taking it. If you want some, we can arrange a time when you can come and get it. I live near Kingston in the mid-Hudson region of New York. But you should prepare well first. Also, itÂs best to dig it out and transfer it on a rainy day and go with a truck, so you can take the longest rhizomes possible and so the small root hairs donÂt die. Kudzu9 do you agree?

Kudzu9, my concern about the bamboo getting loose is about the law of unintended consequences. In many environments non-native species have harmed native animals and plants. Even if I keep a close watch over my patch, given enough time it will get loose and no one can tell what the long term consequences will be. raehyg, you should understand this too. ItÂs an issue of conscience with me. Individuals should think about the long term consequences of their actions. Kudzu9, you must know that kudzu in the American South is one of the great disasters of non-native plant introduction. By the way, IÂm curious why youÂve taken kudzu as part of your user name?

Thanks again,
Al

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 6:29AM
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als2002

Thank you for your replies.

raehyg, IÂm mostly talking here about keeping the bamboo where I want it, not removing large pieces. I did once speak to the owner of a nursery but they werenÂt interested in buying/selling it. I gave away some but in general the people who say they would love to plant bamboo never get around to showing up and taking it. If you want some, we can arrange a time when you can come and get it. I live near Kingston in the mid-Hudson region of New York. But you should prepare well first. Also, itÂs best to dig it out and transfer it on a rainy day and go with a truck, so you can take the longest rhizomes possible and so the small root hairs donÂt die. Kudzu9 do you agree?

Kudzu9, my concern about the bamboo getting loose is about the law of unintended consequences. In many environments non-native species have harmed native animals and plants. Even if I keep a close watch over my patch, given enough time it will get loose and no one can tell what the long term consequences will be. raehyg, you should understand this too. ItÂs an issue of conscience with me. Individuals should think about the long term consequences of their actions. Kudzu9, you must know that kudzu in the American South is one of the great disasters of non-native plant introduction. By the way, IÂm curious why youÂve taken kudzu as part of your user name?

Thanks again,
Al

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 6:32AM
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als2002

Either the server or my browser went a little crazy.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 6:34AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

als2002-
When digging, the time of year is the most important thing to me, and it should not occur between about April and September when the bamboo is shooting. I never dig just the rhizomes; I take a large division of several culms with a rootball at least basketball size, and try to avoid disturbing the dirt surrounding the roots I take.

I respect your concern, but my own experience is that I haven't had any problems that couldn't be fixed with a little regular maintenance. I don't recommend bamboo to people who appear to be unaware or indifferent gardeners, but that's true of many plants. And I consider bamboo to be fairly easy to control given that it does not regenerate from small pieces inadvertently left in the ground after maintenance.

And the username, kudzu? Well I used to live in the South, so I know there are plants that are a lot more invasive than bamboo.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 11:36AM
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als2002

I'm hoping that mine gets up toward 30' this year.Good growing.
Thanks,
Al

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 11:48AM
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camperguy65

I've been trying to kill running bamboo all summer now in my backyard with Round Up type products and clipping the shoots. It just seems to spread now to my neighbor's yard! I'm fed up with this "Satanic" weed! I don't have the time or the youth anymore to dig it all up for weeks on end, or rent backhoes so I've decided to "nuke" it, once and for all! I am proceeding to spread rock salt over the entire area! That should knock the heck out of this monsterous pest! I'll dump hypochloride everywhere as well if I have to! This stuff is a night mare. It reminds me of the Alien movies. You can't kill it, and it's creepy looking until it's full grown. Gives me the creeps. They say the cockroaches will be the only thing to survive a nuclear war. Well, I think it will be cockroaches and bamboo!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:50AM
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va_highlander(6b)

"...cockroaches and bamboo and imbeciles", I should think.

Know thy enemy! Had you bothered to learn something about your adversary before launching your campaign, you wouldn't have to turn your backyard into a toxic waste dump. Bamboo is not from outer space; it has no supernatural powers to speak of and isn't all that difficult to kill, if you understand how it grows. All that is really required is a little knowledge and patience.

I find it ironic that those who despise bamboo seem the least capable of killing the stuff, while those who love and cultivate the plant often know exactly how to go about it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:25AM
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baseballfan2

Remedy is a good killer. Be careful, though. One guy spilled a little in an avocado grove and killed about 10 trees in each direction. It's good to kill the holly we have down here in Florida. Just scrape the bark to the cambium layer and brush it on with a paint brush. In two weeks, the leaves will fall off and the tree will be completely dead. This stuff works slow, but it kills the tree completely.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:43AM
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kentuck_8b(__)

I agree VA Highlander, and well said.

Yes, those that completely despise bamboo are usually the least educated about it. They panic for little or no reason at all.

Bamboo isn't that difficult to eradicate, just have a little patience and persistence, and remember, there ARE clumping varieties and only a few species seem to give ALL bamboo a bad name.

Kt

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:54AM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

baseballfan-
Remedy may be a good killer, but I suspect that you haven't tried it on bamboo...won't work. And, to others, don't dump lots of chemicals in your yard to try to eradicate bamboo. If you really want it gone, then try something that won't mess up the ecology. Check out the link in my May 10 post above.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 2:25PM
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jamboo(8)

For tips on how to misuse herbicides see:

http://www.txfb.org/TexasAgriculture/2002/041902/041902herbicides.htm

Sorry Kudzu, but I beg to differ. Glyphosate works.

Research on the use of RoundUp and Arsenal on bamboo.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/AG266

A similar study was conducted at the University of Hawaii.

Realize this study is regarding removing bamboo from pastures and fields, not backyards!

For the backyard, cut stump application of 41%-71%glyphosate is the least work with the best results.
If you truly want the best results, don't try spraying Roundup on bamboo. Cut stump application is exponentially more effective than foliar application. (according to Dr. Ron Chapman who conducted the trials on hollow stem woody plants for Monsanto, the folks who patented glyphosate).

Besides, if you're intent on getting rid of bamboo aren't you're going to have to cut it anyway? Each remaining stump of each culm and shoot is an opportunity to introduce glyphosate into the system. Cut culms at ground level, and level to the ground, with clean Fiskar PowerGear loppers. Apply drops immediately and don't step on the stumps or kick dirt on them, before or after application. Glyphosate bonds with dirt immediately and goes inert. (Wonder if that's why pouring it all over the ground doesn't kill bamboo?)
"Painting" is better done with an eye dropper. Excessive application had not been shown to be more effective than a couple of drops. It is quite possible that even a couple of drops of 41% glyphosate is overkill.
Some suggest pouring poison into the cavity of an internode.
Hmmm. My bamboo anatomy professor told us that the inner wall of a bamboo culm is practically water tight. Water doesn't get taken up when placed in the internode. I doubt glyphosate would be, but that's just my opinion.

Glyphosate can be used in several ways which do not work. It acts on the actively growing part of the plant, the meristem, where the cells are dividing. Parts of the plant that aren't actively growing will be much less affected. Imagine someone spraying a stand of bamboo in the late fall, after the new shoots have reached their height and are fully branched out. it's unlikely that it will appear to "work" very well.

You heard it here first!
A completely green way of getting rid of (most, and certainly Phyllostachys) bamboo.

Clear cut all standing plants
Keep the soil saturated with water. Not slooshy muddy, but just enough you can squeeze a drop out of a handful.

Ought to kill it completely within 6 weeks.

I'm not advocating wasting water. Might want to place a tarp over the area with a soaker hose underneath to reduce evaporation.

Mileage may vary.

Please let me know how the above works for you, or rip it to shreds if you like.

I just hate seeing misinformation getting passed around.

P.S.
Responsible people that read labels will not use Arsenal or Remedy, or...

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 8:58PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

jamboo-
Yes, I've read that study and I wasn't convinced that it's a practical remedy for most people's yards, or that it's a sure thing. And it's an approach that requires multiple applications, a lot of work, a lot of time, and may nuke surrounding plants that you want to keep. I was trying to inform people who thought there was some simple, one-step chemical approach to not bother, and to not contaminate their environments if they didn't have to.

I suppose you can kill almost any plant if you're willing to poison the ground, but that's like using a cannon to kill a mosquito. The link I gave for the ABS approach is much simpler, surer, cheaper, and environmentally friendly.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2008 at 9:15PM
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al16(6)

This is all great for those of you who choose to grow it but when you are the victim of an ignorant neighbor who lives six properties away and planted it because it looked nice and now twelve properties are covered with it with fences, garages, and sheds being hidden within its vengeful grip, then I have the right to be ignorant to the growing habits of this menace since it was thrust upon me. I have this stuff between my fence and concrete yard (poured to keep out bamboo). ItÂs in my gardens after going under twenty feet of concrete. It is then coming up in the twelve inches of dirt that surrounds my house after going under the ten foot concrete patio! As you can see, I can not rip up my whole yard because a large portion of it is concrete. So I ask the experts, What now?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 9:51AM
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als2002

Your neighbor was clearly irresponsible. If your other neighbors are as concerned as you, I would talk with them and see if you can work together. I would try what jamboo says above, the cut-stump and glyphosate method, exactly as he describes it.

I'm up north where it seems to grow slowly. What area of the country do you live in, that it grows so wildly?

Good luck,
Al

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 11:43AM
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rickinla(8B SW AL)

al16-dig a trench at least 12" deep next to your fence from where the bamboo is coming and cut the rhizomes. Then cut down the bamboo shoots that have come up in your yard. Continue and to mow down the shoots and cut off the invading rhizomes again in the fall. Eventually the bamboo will quit coming up in your yard but you will have to continually keep the invading rhizomes in check. Treating the shoots or stumps with Round Up or anything else won't be a permanent solution because the rhizomes will continue to grow from the neighbors bamboo.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 8:18PM
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al16(6)

Yes, I'm going to try the cut and paint method but that's all I can do. My concrete goes right up to the fence so I can't dig anything out at that point. The bamboo squeezes itself in between the maybe quarter inch gap. My yard is basically all concrete with a 15' by 15' garden just off the 10' by 15' patio. The yard is 15' by 45' with the first 10' being patio, the next 15' being garden and the remaining 20' being concrete. I did it this way in an effort to not become the next victim of this invasion but I guess it was all in vain. I have already pulled out all of the new shoots before finding this forum so I'll have to wait until I see them again but I hope the cut and paint method works for me here in PA. Thanks to all, I'll update when I have a chance to try my next move on my captor.

Al

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 7:07AM
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seattlegirl(6)

Before anyone kills anymore Bamboo, is there even a remote chance of me getting any? even the rhizomes? I have a golden groove bamboo and love mine. Now, I am interested in starting some more.Just thought I'd ask and see what happens..........................

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 11:16AM
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al16(6)

Forgot to mention, I've lived here for 10 years now and it was two properties away when I moved in. A neighbor said it was planted about twenty years before that so this is about a thirty year advance. It is a slow but sure advance that one by one my other neighbors have tried and failed to stop without having any information about it. I refuse to give up even if it comes to ripping out my whole yard and starting over but I hope not.

SEATTLEGIRL: if you send me your mailing address I will try to get you a piece when they pop up again but that may not be until fall or next spring if you want to wait that long. ItÂs up to you. Go to my page to e-mail.

Al

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 1:33PM
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sfhellwig(6a SE Kansas)

"It is a slow but sure advance that one by one my other neighbors have tried and failed to stop without having any information about it. I refuse to give up even if it comes to ripping out my whole yard and starting over but I hope not."

Starting out by knocking down what was on your property was a good start. If there is not enough room between your concrete and fence to reach a spade that is unfortunate. If you are going to remove any concrete I would do it there and leave a space for a trench. If you cut the rhizome and remove any above ground material it will eventually exhaust itself. That sounds oversimplified but if all rhizomes are severed it works, period. It is also unfortunate that the original owner did not try to control their bamboo. I have seen 10+ year groves that did not spread that far and they were only mowed. If any one at any time had severed the rhizome the spreading would not be anywhere near as bad as it has.

I just did a presentation on bamboo at my local gardening club. There were a few interested members who have chosen to not try bamboo. I told them I wasn't trying to discourage them but I was trying to avoid anyone starting a horror story like this one.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:05PM
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bob_kahrmann_yahoo_com

Is it possible to control bamboo with a 1 foot deep trench filled with cement?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 3:46PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Bob-
One foot is a little shallow; two feet would be better.

P.S.: You should start your own, new thread when you are posting something that doesn't bear on the thread title...

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 7:43PM
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pstefan04_verizon_net

And for those of us that have fences being destroyed by neighbor's invasive bamboo? How on earth do I insist he digs a trench so it stops growing through my fence forcing me to maintain HIS grove?!!!! I don't recall it there when I bought my home 9 years ago before we put up the fence. He is grumpy & old with an ill wife, so a polite discussion is out if the question.....guess I have to hope the people that buy my home have more energy or tolerance for this weed! Just wish people would think long term before they plant this crap!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 1:32PM
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kudzu9(Zone 8a - PNW)

Sorry about your problem. If you can't get your neighbor to maintain his bamboo, you'll have to deal with it on your side of the fence like any other invasive plant. I don't think there is any way you can force him to do anything about it.

Most of the people on this forum like to grow "this crap," and know how to maintain it, so it's typically not a problem for our neighbors.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 1:12AM
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pcan

The most invasive plant we have in the yard/neighborhood (it's everywhere) is virgina creeper. It is honestly all over everyones yard. I am sure someone at some point planted it as it is not native to the high deserts in Utah. But it has made itself at home and seems quite happy. It takes constant vigilance to keep it under control. But I don't get angry about it. It is just something I have to keep up on. It is pretty when it stays where you want it, it just takes some work to keep it under control. And as long as I keep up on it, it isn't to hard to maintain.

I imagine bamboo could be similar if let go for years. But as any invasive plant, a little work everyday makes a big difference and goes a long way.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 11:18AM
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als2002

In reply to Pam about the neighbors invasive bamboo and also about how to contain bamboo:

If you have enough room, best way to contain bamboo is to plant it in a place where it can be mowed around. If you have a good 20-30 foot of grass, mowing should contain it, since the roots (at least in my bamboo grove) will not extend more than that underground.

Pam, if you do not mind maintaining it for your neighbors on their side of the fence, I would offer to do that. Depending on the size of the grove, first year you would just have to cut down all the canes that come within 10 yards of the fence. A chain saw works fine. Watch out for sharp stumps that are left by cutting shoots at an angle. (They'll flatten a car tire in a second.) After that every spring just cut off the new shoots with a weed wacker. That should keep it in bounds.

This would be a reasonable solution. Send them a registered letter proposing it. If you neighbors are reasonable people they should agree to it. Since they are sick and old you want to make it as easy as possible for them. Include a simple agreement they can just sign. Get something in writing,so they cannot sue you after you cut down the bamboo.

If they do not agree, there are courses open to you. There have been plenty of lawsuits over bamboo crawling over property lines. The law is on your side. I would not go for a full fledged lawsuit, but you can threaten a lawsuit or have a lawyer write a threatening letter for you. I suppose you could also sue them for damages in small claims court. Do things that are easy for you. If they are church going people, you could even go to their minister and ask that person to intercede. It is always best to be reasonable, but if people will not be reasonable then you're justified in taking action.

Good luck,
Al

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 12:36PM
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