UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners
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UCCE Orange County Master Gardeners

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Planting Bamboo

I planted a bamboo hedge in my yard, and it’s really pretty, and I love it.  But now there are runners coming up in places where they shouldn’t. Is there any way to control this better – I don’t want to remove my beautiful bamboo.

Master Gardener Answer:
The best advice comes from the American Bamboo Society, whose website is very useful. Here is some of the advice that they provide:

The first thing to remember is that there are many different species of bamboo. In general, however, one can divide bamboos into “Runners” and “Clumpers”. The Clumpers don’t invade. To remove a clumper, just dig it out (and transplant it.) Runners can be well-behaved in cold climates, but some kinds when in a warm climate, and given plenty of water, can become a serious problem. Don’t plant a runner in a small yard in a warm climate, unless you put a barrier around it.

Removing a Running Bamboo
If new shoots of bamboo are coming up all over your yard, it is a running bamboo. To get rid of it, there are four steps:
1.    Cut it off.
2.    Cut it down.
3.    Water the area.
4.    Cut it down again

To prevent a running bamboo from spreading, a “rhizome barrier” is essential. A barrier two or three feet deep is effective. It should be slanted outward at the top so that when the rhizomes hit the barrier they will bend upwards. A barrier does not stop a running rhizome; it only deflects it. The barrier should project an inch or two above ground level. Check the barrier once a year, and cut off rhizomes that arch over the top.

If you can’t find the answer on the site, don’t despair! We also have the capacity to personally assist you through our hotline.  Just contact us by email or by phone (voicemail) at 949 809-9760 and we will respond to your inquiry.
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