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Reclaiming Your Garden: Bamboo Control!

Last week, we took a look at some of the pros and cons of bamboo in your garden. If you are reading this week, the chance is that you have a bamboo problem and need to know what to do to fix it. Although bamboo can offer great screening, it produces strong underground stems, called rhizomes, which have a tendency to pop up where they are least expected (or wanted).

If your garden is being taken over by bamboo, you may want to regain control or get rid of the bamboo completely. Both courses of action will take time and patience, but it is doable. Here’s how.

Non-chemical control

Non-chemical intervention should always be the first port of call for any responsible gardener. Although a little bit more labour intensive, a non-chemical approach is better for your garden as well as the environment. If you want to limit the spread of your bamboo, digging out clumps can be a good start. Using a sharp spade, you need to sever the rhizomes and lift the bamboo clear out of the ground using a fork or trowel. This can be labour intensive but effective and, once your area of bamboo is back to an acceptable size you can rotovate the fringes if required. A professional gardener or handyperson can do this job for you if required. Regular mowing of your lawn will also help you to control growth and prevent new shoots from taking hold without resorting to chemicals.

Creating a barrier

Once you have trimmed it back, placing a physical barrier can help to prevent future spreading. Dig a trench 60-120cm deep (the deeper the better) and line it with an impermeable membrane, such as paving slabs, making sure that you leave at least 7.5cm protruding above the ground. This will contain your bamboo as the rhizomes won’t be able to penetrate the barrier.

Chemical control

If the non-chemical approach doesn’t work, you can use weedkiller, but this really needs to be the last resort. Weedkiller will eventually kill unwanted new growth or the whole plant, but it could take time and several applications, and could put other wildlife and plant life at risk.

If you only want to get rid of unwanted growth using weed killer, you need to start by severing the connection between the parent plant and the regrowth. Use a garden spade to cut the rhizomes before applying weed killer. As soon as new growth reappears, treat it again.

If you want to get rid of the whole plant, cut it to the ground and treat with chemicals but remember that any other green leafy plants will also be killed if they come into direct contact with the weed killer.

For professional advice on maintaining your garden, get in touch with a local landscape gardener; with a wealth of knowledge and experience, they will be able to take the stress out of gardening for you. For more advice, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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