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5 Reasons Not to Plant Bamboo in Your Yard

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2. Bamboo can be an invasive threat to biodiversity.

Bamboo that spreads and escapes your yard can also cause ecological problems. Many spreading bamboo species are categorized as invasive exotic plants that crowd out native plants and threaten biodiversity.

The best ways to contain spreading bamboo can be expensive and complicated, and may not be worth pursuing for many homeowners. Moreover, they are not foolproof. Experts at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office recommend burying thick 60-mil polypropylene or fiberglass about three feet deep, and leaving another two inches of material above the soil to inhibit surface spreading. Morgan Judy of Clemson University Cooperative Extension suggests creating a solid barrier made of concrete, metal or pressure-treated wood at least 18 inches deep around the bamboo.

Any of these barriers should stop shallow bamboo rhizomes from spreading, but Judy still recommends closely monitoring the area for escaping shoots, particularly during the early summer peak growing season.

3. Getting rid of bamboo can take years.

Bamboo is a long-term relationship that should not be entered lightly. It may take years and vigorous effort to remove unwanted bamboo. The first step in removing bamboo is to remove all the root mass and rhizomes. This is easier said than done, and many homeowners with bamboo-loving neighbors complain they canít get rid of the spreading grass. No matter how much they dig, the shoots keep coming back.

Judy suggests frequent mowing can deplete and starve the bamboo, but it take at least two years of regular mowing to see any results.

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129 comments

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6:32PM PDT on May 6, 2014

Delia, A good clumping Bamboo that is beautiful, grows fast making a beautiful screen and is not invasive is Fargesia Scabrida if it is available where you live. If you don't want Bamboo then I would choose Japanese Silver Grass or Zebra Grass. You can even alternate them keeping them about 4 or 5 feet apart as they will grow quite large. Hope this helps

11:14AM PDT on May 6, 2014

I hv a garden that on north side is a cemetery .as I am trying to do business using the garden for venues such as wedding. I thought of growing bamboo on the cemetery side and fruit tree on the other side of my garden. I thought if bamboo since there is a stream on that side. Can you give other option to use other than bamboo to make a nice fence and at the same time a buffer. Thank you Dy

9:11AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

I agree with Scott D. there are many good compact clumping types of bamboo that are much like agave and aloe vera, their new shoots stay very near the mother plant. Also many environments here in the U. S. aren't as favorable to the running types as in their homeland.

3:01PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

:)

2:55PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

We wanted to block out the new home built in the vacant block behind us. We choose a native clumbing bamboo from our local nursery. Knowing it could spread where we didn't want it we put it in a concrete surrounded garden bed.
As my partner was a builder he was able to dig and build a retaining wall 5 foot deep,1/2 foot high above ground and 10inchs wide.
The garden bed is in an area that rarely gets mowed due too competion from other large trees. This was 15yrs ago and it has been a high maintenace job once the bamboo established. No it did not need watering or fertilizer but the roots climb over the concrete which require regular checking and chopping at least once a week in peak growning times. The old dead bamboo stems have to be chopped out the mulch level needs to be kept down to help prevent roots climbing out.
A clump started to grow outside of the garden bed last year, so we dug down and followed the root and came up against the concrete wall to find that over time a root had managed to drill its way through the concrete about 2 foot underground. As of yet we haven't dug around the whole retaining wall to see if anymore are drilling out but the chance are they are. So concrete is not a full proof way of containing bamboo forever.
Yes, the bamboo did quickly do the job of screening the neighbours view to our backyard and it is very pretty to look at but if I knew what I know now I would chose something else that requires a little less work.

2:34PM PST on Feb 8, 2012

Thank you.

10:58AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

My mother in law was thinking about putting in Bamboo before she died. Glad she didn't. I don't have her energy to keep up with the gardening.

9:05AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Good info, thank you..

1:14AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Thanks.

4:08PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

thnxs. :)

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