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Options for getting rid of bamboo? #120948 - Ask Extension

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Options for getting rid of bamboo? #120948

Asked April 10, 2013, 7:11 AM EDT

I am hoping that you can advise me on a bamboo problem that I’m having. I live in Laurel, MD and have a creek at the back of my property. The previous owner of my home planted running bamboo. I didn’t realize what it was at the time I purchased the house. It has spread into other neighbors backyards along the running creek. I have spent over $1,000 trying to get rid of it—my neighbors just can’t afford the cost. Do you know if there is anyone I can contact who would harvest the poles periodically for their business or whatever they could use it for? Since my neighbors don’t have it removed, it keeps growing back on my property.

Howard County Maryland

Expert Response

    Bamboo control is one of our commonest questions. People do not realize that bamboo is invasive when they plant it, with dire results to home and environment.  
    Control of bamboo is very possible,  See the section about control in our online publication, HG28 at:  http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG28%20Bamboo.pdf.  
        Basically bamboo has a huge root system with a huge amount of stored energy in it, so that even when you cut off the top growth, it is easy for the plant to regenerate itself. You need a systemic herbicide that will go down and kill the roots.  Glyphosate is a good systemic herbicide, but when you live on the water or in a watershed, you must use a special formula for use around water.  (The regular formula kills aquatic life.)  Examples of these water-safe formulas would be Rodeo or Erasure.  There are others. 
   Timing is key here. Keep in mind that you must cut the bamboo  in spring, let it grow, and then spray the new growth in October.  This will kill bamboo quickly.  (The next year treat any escapees if there are any.)  Because just one procedure pretty much does it, and it can be done by a homeowner, your neighbors should be able to do this. 
       As for finding someone to simply cut down bamboo, we'd recommend that you offer the resulting bamboo poles on Craigslist or offer them for free in your local pennysaver-type newspaper. 
       You can also look at the plant profile for bamboo in the Weeds Gone Wild website.  It's very good.
    For future answers, you are welcome to contact the Home and Garden Information Center directly at: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic since we specialize in helping homeowners.  

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