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5 Reasons Not to Plant Bamboo in Your Yard

4. Getting rid of bamboo may require herbicides.

Moreover, Judy notes that chemical herbicides are often necessary for controlling bamboo. This can be a problem for those trying to maintain organic gardens and avoid herbicide use.

She recommends Roundup Original, Quick Kill Grass and Weed Killer and other herbicides containing glyphosate. This broad-spectrum herbicide has minimal residual soil activity and typically only kills the plants that are directly sprayed. Mow or chop the bamboo and let it regrow until new leaves expand. Then spray the herbicide on the leaves.

Again, this could take years. One application will not solve your bamboo problem. Also, Judy warns that specialized glyphosate herbicides should be used near creeks, ponds and other surface water. Eraser AQ, Pondmaster and other products are approved for use near water.

5. The right bamboo can be hard to find.

Bamboo’s defenders will argue that not all of the more than 1,000 bamboo species are equally invasive. They recommend clumping bamboo species rather than spreading types. The problem is that even clumping species spread, albeit not as vigorously. It also can be hard to differentiate between the types, and some are mislabeled. Moreover, other similar invasive species may be confused with bamboo. For example, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension officials warn against transplanting or encouraging the giant reed (Arundo donax), a bamboo look-alike that has invaded parts of their state.

Bamboo may seem like an attractive garden option, but it poses serious problems. Stick to a lucky bamboo in a small indoor pot, or avoid growing bamboo altogether. Moreover, do your homework before buying bamboo flooring and other products. It may not be as eco-friendly or durable as you think.

Related:
The Wonders of Bamboo
10 Materials That Could Replace Wood One Day
Groundcover Plants: 7 Alternatives to Grass
Image: nkzs/stock.xchng

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127 comments

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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. :)

5:16AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Thank you Scott from www.bearrootsbamboo.com

6:06PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Well, the great Buddha said that ignorance is one of the great poisons of the mind. This article is filled with misconceptions about bamboo, and you are showing how great your ignorance is about bamboos, sadly.

The main error in your thinking is that there are two main types of bamboos: running and non-running. None of the non-running types is invasive, as you use the term here. They are clumping. There are many clumping bamboos available, and many nurseries have them.

As for the running types of bamboos, they are not invasive in the sense that you are using them. Bamboos rarely flower, and when they do most types die off. Some flower only once evey 100 years. Thus they do not present an invasive threat that say, Scotch Broom or Himalayan blackberries do. Those two species have spread all over the western US, and cover thousands of square miles of land area. In contrast, there are few (if any) truely invasive stands of bamboos in the entire western US. They simply do not compare to most invasive plant species, and in most states bamboos are not considered invasives. Can a runner bamboo escape and invade the neighbor's yard? Maybe, but that can be prevented if they are planted right. Also beyond a local area, they are not going to spread very far.

As far as getting rid of bamboo, that is easy. Just run an ad on Craigslist saying, "Free bamboo to anyone that wants to come and dig it up". I gurantee you they will be gone in a few weeks.

-Peace

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