Asked March 23, 2016, 1:10 PM EDT
Douglas County Oregon
The first step in controlling bamboo should be to remove as much of the root mass and rhizomes of the plant as possible. This can often be done by hand with small infestations but larger problem areas may require the use of power equipment. Containment is also a fairly effective method of controlling bamboo, but must be monitored regularly. Because the rhizomes are fairly shallow, growing less than one foot deep in the soil, a barrier made of concrete, metal, plastic, or pressure-treated wood installed about 18 inches deep has proven to be effective. Bamboo rhizomes are not stopped by barriers but are merely reflected. Because of this behavior, the areas surrounding the barriers should be monitored regularly for escaped rhizomes that should be cut back.
Regular mowing is another method that can help control bamboo over time. Because bamboo is a grass, it can tolerate occasional mowing but does not tolerate frequent mowing. Mowing practices, similar to that in a home lawn can eventually deplete the bamboo rhizomes and offer some control. Two to three years of regular mowing are often needed to see results.
A final, and often necessary, method of control for bamboo is the use of herbicides. A non-selective herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate is the best option for homeowners. Glyphosate has very little residual soil activity and will only kill plants that receive direct contact. For glyphosate to be effective, the bamboo must be mowed or chopped and allowed to regrow until the new leaves expand. Glyphosate should then be applied to the leaves. Keep in mind that one application of glyphosate will not eradicate the bamboo infestation. It can potentially take two to three years to gain complete control. Do not apply these products directly to water or to areas where surface water is present. For bamboo control next to creeks, lake basins, wetlands or other water sources where spray drift will contact the water, choose a glyphosate product labeled for use near water.
While bamboo control is not impossible, it can often seem that way. Staying on top of the problem is one of the most important things to remember. An intensive control method over several years will be necessary to eradicate a bamboo infestation. One of the best methods of control is prevention. Always do your homework before planting bamboo and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Hope this helps!