Bamboo woes

tami58May 18, 2009

There is bamboo growing in my woods that the previous owner planted there. He didn't know any better & thought it looked nice (rolling my eyes here!) I need to get rid of this stuff before it spreads!! I tried Roundup that I got to get rid of the poison ivy, but it really didn't do a thing. Does anyone have any ideas that can help me get rid of this stuff forever!!

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Digging it up is the best approach.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 1:31PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

what, the whole woods!?!?

Depending on how large the area is, continually cutting it down might be best. It will grow right back the first time, regrow but smaller the second time, but eventually will run out of energy and die.

I'm out of time, but that's the basic idea.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 4:58PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

back at work and back to this post....

The most likely reasons your Roundup didn't do anything is that the bamboo has a huge amount of energy stored up, you probably diluted the Roundup with water, and you may have applied it without cutting the bamboo first. It's like trying to club a giant with a toothpick.

The way I would deal with this situation is to use glyphosate ("generic Roundup" is much cheaper than the branded stuff) in conjunction with removal of top growth. I'd go buy some 18% concentrate (the common concentration for Roundup) and apply it to the freshly cut stumps of the bamboo immediately after they were cut. If you have a large clump, this may be a two or three person job. Be sure to tackle the entire clump (one plant can be spread out over a very large area), because energy from one part of the plant can be used to bolster the other part if you only attack half the plant. If applied correctly, this method should greatly reduce the time it takes to rid your woods of this monster. I wouldn't be surprised if two applications didn't eliminate the problem completely.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:04AM
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Thanks again Brandon. I've already cut it, but do you think the glyco will still work?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 11:17PM
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kendal(8 PNW)

You know many people love bamboo and if you offer it free in exchange for digging it up themselves they will come. Save you the backache and someone gets free bamboo; this is how I got rid of my 5 10' tall Rhodies. These days most people are low on money but still want to fix up their yards; it's a win/win situation.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:06AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Tami, If you've already cut it, the glyphosate would probably be a waste of money if applied right now. When the stuff grows back (and it will, soon), use the glyphosate then to finish the stuff off (or at least make a huge dent in the problem).

If you are not in a hurry to get rid of the stuff, I like Kendal's idea. You could make others happy and have less work to do yourself. People are going to be able to completely remove a large patch, but every little bit would help.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Since I've already cut it this is kind of a moot point, but I just wanted to say I ethically could not offer this non native invasive to others to deplete our already dwindling natural areas. There are several large stands of bamboo in my area & everytime I see one of them I cringe. I get angry that people don't understand the damage they are doing by allowing these non natives to take over. Nope, I'll just cut it down & take my aggression out on my own little bit of bamboo & relish in my success when it is finally gone.
Incidently, I have found some good uses for the harvested bamboo so it won't go to waste. Plant stakes & bee habitats are the 2 uses I liked best.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:49AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

While bamboo spreads rapidly and some species are considered invasives in some areas, their "big picture" damage to the environment is relatively small compared to many other invasive species. It might be a major pain for you to deal with, but it's not nearly as much of a problem, ecologically speaking, as many other aggressive plants.

What I'm saying is that it's not an ethically wrong thing to plant as long as you don't let it escape into your neighbor's yard and take over his lot. Also, planting where invasion of natural areas is possible, should be avoided.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 1:50PM
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Way to go Tami...I wish more people thought like you when it comes to invasives!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:10PM
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Bamboo is a renewable resource that people can use instead of cutting down native trees.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:26PM
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Some types of bamboo are native depending on where you live. One of my friends who developes plants was saying that one of the bamboo's growing in his yard was the native bamboo that was here before the Spanish came. He also stated that until the cattle ate it all the bamboo was spead from the Gulf to north of St Louis.

I don't know what it's name.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 9:57PM
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It may be a renewable resource, but it can be grown someplace other than my woodland setting in south central Pa. There are several stands of it close by me & seeing those were one of the reasons I wanted to get rid of it. It smothers out everything else. It is a veritable impenatrable wall. It doesn't let light through & it is just ugly. I'm not willing to sacrifice all my deciduos trees for bamboo. A hardwood forest is much more intereting & beautiful than a stand of bamboo.
And I really don't think there are any types of bamboo that are native to my area.
Bye bye bamboo!!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:21AM
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Where are you located and I will ask him about natives in your area.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:28PM
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If anyone is interested here is an article about a new native bamboo discovery. Read down the page concerning the other native bamboos.

Here is a link that might be useful: US Native Bamboo article

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:39PM
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Thanks maifleur for that link. I'm interested in restoring a "cane break" that my Grandfather wiped out in the 1940's.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 4:17AM
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I have black bamboo growing in my zone 6 shade garden and love it. When it gets out of place, I just cut it down at the soil line. My kids love to burn it over family fires. Honestly,the best way to irradicate any invasive plant is to spray it with roundup just before and after the first killing frost. Instinctively the plant stores every last bit of its starches deep into its roots prior to dormancy. Therefore the round up will git down there deep and giter done.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 12:31AM
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airydana(7b AL)

I love this kind of thread - fair and balanced! Lots of valid viewpoints, none of which can be absolutely correct in all situations. Glad we live in America, folks, where the homeowner can still kill his bamboo off if he wants, AND where the divergent voices can still be expressed, heard, and respected. Thanks for keeping it interesting.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 11:18AM
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koidom(8 OR)

It's a grass horses love to eat it.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 10:38PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I agree about not passing on the bamboo. Here in northern Virginia and D.C., bamboo is spreading to the woods. When we moved into our house twelve years ago, the entire backyard was bamboo and ivy. It took me several years of cutting, using a combination of concentrated Brush-B-Gone and Round-up (which I poured into the cut stalks and painted on leaves that came up), and digging up of roots to get rid of it. Discovered several dead trees that had been choked out by the bamboo-very sad. Did have a holly come back once the bamboo was gone which was nice. Unfortunately, the bamboo is now in the woods behind our house and I worry about the native undergrowth which can't compete. I would try pouring some down the cut stalks even now since the roots are probably very much alive and sending up new shoots!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 1:11PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


"pouring some down the cut stalks" probably isn't the best use of your chemicals. Use the chemicals undiluted (homeowner strength undiluted Roundup is about 18% concentrate), and apply to the freshly cut cambium. If you cut and treat all the shoots at one time, the plant should be killed fairly quickly. It might take a few treatments (depending on multiple factors), but it shouldn't go on for many months, much less years! Cutting small patches here and there will not work. All the shoots you see are probably from a single plant, and that plant will divert energy from healthy parts to overcome localized problems. If you understand how the plant works and how the chemicals work, you task will be drastically simplified. Tackling a whole patch at once may be challenging, but is much less so than fighting against the problem for years!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:20PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Thanks, Brandon. I did cut down the whole stand at once when we first moved here, but the roots are so hard to kill that shoots continued to appear even after painting the leaves and rims of cut stalks with the concentrate. Plants that looked dead would eventually sprout new green leaves-ugh. Digging the roots worked, too, but we had so much that I thought my husband would have a heart attack! My husband works for EPA, so we are pretty familiar with how the chemicals work. Bamboo defies the odds. You're lucky if yours was more easily eradicated. I actually got the idea for pouring a small amount of the herbicide down the stem from my sister-in-law in Nashville. Anyway, I am pretty much bamboo free now unless it moves back in from the woods. I am keeping an eye out and my fingers crossed, so that doesn't happen.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 5:35PM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

I wonder how many people mistake this for Bamboo and plant it.
Japanese knot weed, also a very invasive plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: japanese knot weed

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 12:19PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I don't see how anyone could mistake it for bamboo. I can imagine someone thinking it was pretty or an extra hardy plant and planting it without really knowing what they had.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 2:24PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Equisetum (horsetail rush) is probably more likely to be considered bamboo. Years ago, I made the mistake of planing this in a flowerbed......LOL

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 2:27PM
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