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Has anyone managed to kill bamboo, and if so, how?

(18 Posts)
Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:04:04

It's not even ours blush

It's next door's. It's right on the fence and now coming up in fast growing spurts on our side. I cut a couple and they have just multiplied.

Reading up on this I'm not feeling too hopeful.

I've asked next door if they might consider taking it out, but they know nothing about gardening, both work full time, I don't think they believe me when I tell them how pervasive it is, and basically, a year on it's still there.

I want to kill it from my side of the fence. I have heard that glyphosate (?) might be the bomb. Any experiences most welcome.

Really worried it will get to the point where it's invaded all our flower beds and I have to kill my trees and plants to get rid of it.

shovetheholly Mon 01-Feb-16 09:09:07

In haste - will try to reply more fully later, but you need to put in a barrier to stop it getting through. This means digging a really deep trench along the barrier and putting in some very tough, purpose-made root control material that it can't punch through. If you then root up anything that is already on your side, and keep doing it, you will eventually eradicate it. Like most persistent unwanted plants, it's a war of attrition!

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:14:11

Thank you very much - that sounds like a plan. Howver I am worried that it will just go sideways and along the barrier, unless I do a barrier that's as long as the whole garden.

Also it's complicated by the fact that we have a staircase on top of where it's coming through - like a fire escape.

It's very hard to get under there so would have to dig with a trowel, and I'm not sure I could do a great job of it that way.

I was hoping there might be a chemical poison way to do it!

Tuiles Mon 01-Feb-16 09:15:55

Get a panda?

shovetheholly Mon 01-Feb-16 09:26:18

A chemical will knock back the bits in your garden and it'll do something to weaken the main plant - but it's unlikely to kill the whole thing. And while that main clump is alive, it's going to keep sending rhizomes your way. You need to get down quite deep to put in the barrier (think feet, not inches), so the staircase may mean that this is simply impractical.

I've seen people dig a trench and leave it - the idea being that you see the rhizomes coming across and you snip them all off. Obviously, this means living with a trench at the side of your garden, though. Info here:

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:27:04

LOL smile

They are lovely people but I fear they may see that as an act of aggravation!

AllYouDoToMeIsTalkTalk Mon 01-Feb-16 09:31:51

What I did was to spend an entire summer cutting it all down, and digging up all the soil in my garden, down to the brick (a foot and a half deep, around three tonnes of it), put the soil into hippo bags, had two thirds of it taken away, sieved the rest with a garden riddle into another hippo bag to get the rhizomes out, pressure-cleaned the bricks, and put the soil into a raised planter at one end of my garden. The few shoots that make it through the brick now, I glyphosate as soon as I see them.

AllYouDoToMeIsTalkTalk Mon 01-Feb-16 09:33:30

Thankfully, I had a new next-door neighbour move in last year who hates bamboo as much as I do, so it's getting attacked from both sides.

Snarklepoo Mon 01-Feb-16 09:34:43

Think you might have to get digging. Never cut the culms, as it just encourages more vigorous regrowth. It propagates itself by spreading runners and the new shoots coming up in your garden are the product. If there aren't loads, you might be able to dig down below the main mass of the plant on the fence line and insert an impermeable barrier at least a metre deep (sheet of metal) which will keep it at bay for a while, but probably not forever. Dig up the runners on your side thoroughly.

You can paint the occasional runner that comes up on your side with undilute glyphosate ( Google Roundup pro-biactive and get it in commercial quantities if you can) Use rubber gloves, protect your eyes and apply with a paintbrush to target only the bamboo. Probably won't affect the main body of the plant too much just doing the bits on your side.

Ultimately, it may be worth offering to assist your neighbours in digging up some of the plant on their side although it's hard, hard going. If it was possible, a mini digger, get the whole lot out and replant a clump on their side (if they're that fond of it) in a galvanised dustbin with no drainage holes (the plant won't mind) sunk two thirds into the ground. Keep a collar of bin above ground so they can check for and deal with escaped bits regularly.

I'm sure there must be proper horror stories online about bamboo. Maybe some waving these at the neighbours might be educational? Best of luck with it.

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:38:00

Oh my Good Lord.

That sounds...drastic sad

We only moved in a year ago. They moved in a few months before we did, and have basically left the garden exactly as it was. It's far moe established than ours was, and I have planted about twenty trees and loads of shrubs and so on.

There's no way I could dig it all up.

I think I will cut it down on this side and apply some serious glyphosate, perhaps it might give up if it has plenty of space next door? I'd love a way to make the whole bloody thing die, but it's about 15 feet tall, it grew about 8 foot last year alone - it seems not to have been there for a long time so I'm concerned how bad it's going to get.

I might speak to them again - I could offer to dig it out myself, or pay for a gardener to do it, but I don't think they grasp how seriously invasive it is, or why that is a problem.

It could be knotweed couldn't it. I should feel fortunate!

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:38:21

Oh sorry, x posts, I will go and read latest reply now!

shovetheholly Mon 01-Feb-16 09:39:07

AllYouDo - bloody hell, you deserve a medal for winning that war!

I blame vendors for some of these problems - there are lovely, elegant clump-forming bamboos that are quite easy to keep under control, and then there are rhizomatous thugs that just run and run. There ought to be some clear labelling system to warm people of the problems of the running varieties, which really need to go in a container or with an appropriate barrier.

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:42:14

Thank you Snarkle, that's very helpful.

I will try and dig down. Then if I can I'll bung in a sheet of metal and hope that will contain it.

I have some concrete slabs - are they any use, if inserted vertically? Not sure how deep it might go to get round them.

I'd love to remove the stairs, to get at it properly but it's our only route into the garden without going the long way round, as we are above ground level.

At least it isn't in a position where we have anything else planted, at the moment, though it isn't far away.

Thanks again for the help. I will go and buy some heavy duty weedkiller too, and keep applying it liberally to new growth and hope it gets the hint.

Pipistrella Mon 01-Feb-16 09:43:41

I've found the label on the plant and it warns that it spreads.

So stupid to plant it there on the border without containing it.

Maybe it was revenge for the stairs that the previous owners put in without planning permission...I can understand that smile

AllYouDoToMeIsTalkTalk Mon 01-Feb-16 09:45:58

Yes, my solution was a little drastic. I'd been lax, and over the previous year, it had spread from one pretty little clump on their side of the fence to fill my entire garden. Luckily I live in a small end-terrace so it's quite a small garden an it didn't spread any further from the other side of my property.

Snarklepoo Mon 01-Feb-16 09:47:51

Well said, Shove. I keep seeing it in discount garden centres with only generic labelling (I am adamant that every plant sold should have it's Latin name so they can be properly identified, but that's another story).

I have two lovely big Phyllostachys bought in the sale at Dobbies for £10, but I wasn't brave enough to put them in the ground, so they're now in 70 litre containers that I can't lift. One of them had rubbed against the felt on the shed roof, wearing it away so now the roof needs fixed. They probably should be banned blush

Snarklepoo Mon 01-Feb-16 09:54:47

If the label is still on the plant, it sounds to me like it hasn't been in all that long, in which case a day's teamwork digging it up sounds doable.

Best barrier material is corrugated or pig-iron. Dig round and insert with the ridges running vertically and overlap the sheets if you have to. Slabs probably won't go deep enough. On the bright side, once it gets under the stairs it'll destroy them eventually anyway. Two birds one stone? Totally don't envy your job...

shovetheholly Mon 01-Feb-16 12:10:04

Ahhhhh, but Phyllostachys are lovely in compensation snarkle. I bet they look smashing in your garden. Though I understand the frustration about the shed roof!! grin And they are mostly clump-formers so they have some manners too.

If you get on with your neighbours, pipistrella maybe you can show them some of the problems you're having, and some of the horror stories about how invasive it is? By then, they will probably welcome any offer of help to get it contained in a pot or a dustbin planted in the earth!! If not, perhaps you can go down the road of a barrier and MadEye Moody style CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

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