Natural Control Methods
Bamboo is a great plant that requires little maintenance other than controlling it to your desired area. We recommend using our Bamboo Shield product to avoid the following methods, but with regular upkeep a barrier is not always required to contain bamboo.
Identify unwanted shoots
Select shoots that emerge outside of your desired growth area.
Remove unwanted shoots
New shoots are fragile and can be easily removed.
Growth is aborted
Once aborted the cane will never grow again.
- New shoots are easiest to remove after they have reached 6-12″ tall. This is when they are the most fragile.
- They can be removed with a lawn mower but some areas maybe difficult to mow.
- String trimmer works great for removing bamboo shoots.
- You can also use a swift kick to remove them.
Aborting shoots is a good method of control but you must remain vigilant during the spring. Once all the new shoots have been removed in the spring, you will be done until next spring. Occasionally, you will have a couple of late shooters but the majority will occur in the Spring. You can see how easy it is to control even ‘Moso’, the largest temperate bamboo on earth. This cane would have grown to over 40′ but can be easily aborted.
This species ‘Moso’ is a common ingredient in stir fry. Most all bamboo shoots are edible and easy to prepare. Learn more
Roots or rhizomes can be cut to prevent bamboo from spreading. This method can be used when bamboo has been planted close to a property line. Using this method can help prevent rhizomes from traveling into undesired areas. If the rhizomes can’t establish themselves in unwanted areas, they cannot produce canes there.
1. Establish open trench
A trench is dug 12 – 18 inches deep and about 12 inches wide. Bamboo root are superficial and are usually found in the first 12″ of topsoil. Inspect regularly for rhizome growth during the growing season. The majority of rhizome expansion will occur during the summer and fall.
2. Remove rhizome growth
Hand pruners or spades can be used to easily cut off the rhizomes as they emerge into the trench. Maintaining an open trench in your yard can be dangerous so make sure that is properly marked or isolated. The trench can be filled with sand or other material that is easy to work in and cut expanding rhizomes.
You can also get similar results by root pruning with a spade. This is done by overlapping each cut. Just push the spade into the ground and remove it. Go all around the area that you want the bamboo to remain inside. This cuts the roots and keeps the bamboo in check. It is a simple method and will work if done correctly twice a year, mid to late summer and in the fall. This is a great way to control bamboo in the hard to mow areas.
The pruned rhizome will not grow straight out any more, but will branch off and the rhizomes will then be within the trenched area. The privacy screen will therefore be formed along the line you root prune.