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How to Get Rid of Invasive Bamboo

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bamboo

Bamboo is a beautiful plant from Asia. There, nature provides a balance of predators and disease that keep bamboo in check. However, here in the U.S. where it was presented for use as an ornamental plant, there isn’t a natural management system to contain it.

Some varieties of bamboo are considered “invasive.” Specifically, golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea), which is also known as fishpole bamboo or walking stick bamboo, is considered invasive. According to the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, golden bamboo is invasive in twelve southern states from Texas and east to Florida and north to Maryland. It is also an invasive plant in California and in Oregon.

How to Identify Invasive Bamboo

Invasive bamboo develops into a very dense wall of stalks above ground, crowding other plants. Underground, it produces a system of rapid runners that overtake native plants’ root systems. To have a look at some invasive golden bamboo check out these invasive bamboo images.

How to Eradicate Invasive Bamboo

To eradicate an infestation of bamboo entirely takes persistence and patience. The rhizomes can be found within a foot of the ground’s surface. Cut the bamboo down to a few inches tall. Then, dig up as much of the roots and runners as possible. This can be done by hand for smaller areas. For larger areas, you may need to use power equipment.

Since bamboo is a type of grass, regular, consistent mowing will eventually cause bamboo rhizomes to give up and expire. If you choose to mow your bamboo to death, just know that it may take 2-3 years to finally get the job done. Even then, it’s advisable to be on the lookout for new sprouts.

The use of an herbicide to get rid of invasive bamboo is another option. However, bamboo does tend to be resilient to herbicides, so many applications may be necessary. Complete eradication is best achieved when mowing is combined with the use of an herbicide.

An herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate, such as Roundup Original, is the best choice for bamboo eradication. Within a few days of mowing, watch for new growth to appear. Apply the herbicide directly to the new leaves. Again, the overall time frame for eradication may take years, so be diligent.

How to Grow Invasive Bamboo Responsibly

In spite of the warnings, if you choose to plant bamboo, consider planting it in a raised bed enclosed with stones or bricks to prevent the rhizomes from spreading. Or, if you already have invasive bamboo and would like to contain it, you might consider rhizome barriers specific to controlling bamboo. Rhizome barriers for bamboo are sheets of metal or plastic that are placed vertically into the ground in a perimeter around your designated bamboo area.

The sheets should be placed in trenches that are at least two feet deep. The top two inches of the sheets should remain above ground with a protective cap over any metal edges. The sheets should be placed end to end, and should overlap each other by at least two inches.

The barrier should completely surround the bamboo garden. This method prevents rhizomes from spreading. However, you will have to control any rhizomes that already exist outside of your perimeter to prevent their growth. You will also have to monitor the barrier over time to make sure no rhizomes are reaching under or over the metal.

Non-invasive Alternatives to Invasive Bamboo

While invasive bamboo is a plant that gardeners should avoid, fortunately, not all bamboo is considered invasive. “Clumping” bamboo does not produce the underground runners that create rapid, spreading growth. The rhizomes for clumping bamboo grow more slowly over time, and they sprout up in clumps. It is easily contained as an ornamental plant choice. Fargesia robusta, Fargesia rufa, and Fargesia scabrida are cold hardy varieties of clumping bamboo that are alternatives to invasive bamboo.

Better yet, you might want to just stick with native plant alternatives rather than introducing bamboo into your landscape. Florida leucothoe (Agarista populifolia) is a bush type plant with foliage that looks similar to clumping bamboo in shape, size, and color. Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is an alternative plant that grows similar in height to bamboo. Yaupon holly attracts and supports native wildlife, such as local birds and butterflies.

All plants have their proper place, and bamboo is no exception. So, let’s do what we can to keep bamboo and other potentially harmful plants in their place. And don’t be afraid to tell your neighbors what you know about invasive plants.

Need more information on controlling invasive bamboo?

Check out these resources:
Bamboo Control from Clemson Cooperative Extension
Golden Bamboo from University of Florida IFAS Extension

How to Grow Poppies

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poppies
If you are searching for an elegant classic with the perseverance of a wildflower, try poppies. They are easy to grow by gardeners throughout the U.S. as an annual. And, like a wildflower, they will self seed if allowed. Poppies are an old fashioned favorite with their easygoing character and graceful flair.

Choose poppies from a huge color palette. In fact, there are poppy varieties in nearly every flower color you can imagine. They are found in solid and in multicolored hues. And, there are many different varieties. With so many to consider, your biggest challenge growing poppies might just be figuring out which one to choose.

Poppies have been around for centuries. Their gorgeous blossoms, their edible seeds, and their medicinal properties have woven them into the history and culture of folks far and wide. Continue reading…

Make a mini greenhouse: DIY coldframe ideas

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If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own greenhouse but couldn’t make that a possibility, you’ll be pleased to learn that DIY mini greenhouses are becoming a popular alternative. In this case, “mini” actually describes a large range of sizes: your mini greenhouse can be a 12”x12” tabletop unit or a 2’x5’ freestanding cart on […]

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How to Test Your Soil With Just a Mason Jar

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  There is an easy and cost-effective way for you to test the quality of your garden soil at home. All this method requires is a lidded mason jar plus a little bit of background knowledge. Let’s get a basic understanding of some soil properties before describing how to test your soil. 

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How to Grow Ageratum (Floss Flower)

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True blue. There are few flowers out there that can claim that title. Ageratum (pronounced AH-jer-a-tum) is one of them, though. In addition to that perfect blue, ageratums can be pink, white or purple, too. Their soft and fluffy flower heads gives this flower a whimsical character. Ageratum is also referred to as floss flower. […]

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All About Aphids, and How to Kill Them

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  Good things come in small packages, or so the idiom goes. But annoying, destructive things can also come in small packages: just think about the crop-destroying aphid, sometimes referred to as “plant lice.” There is no lack of credible material on the internet to help you understand and control aphids. However, we’ve done the […]

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Repel Mosquitoes by Growing These Plants!

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If your region is currently in its warm/wet season, you have likely swatted away more than your fair share of the dreaded blood-sucking mosquito. They’re not only annoying–insistent on interrupting your campfire fun and producing extremely itchy bumps–they’re also potentially dangerous, depending on whether contaminated blood has mingled within its body. What’s worse than enjoying […]

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Skydrop Smart Sprinkler Controller Giveaway

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The most common cause of death for lawn and garden plants isn’t pests, disease, or even drought. The truth is that the most common cause of landscape plant death is over or under-watering. It’s a familiar scenario: A homeowner sets their watering system to run at specific times throughout the day. But then, unexpectedly, a […]

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How to Grow Aronia Berries (Chokeberry), a Superfruit

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If you are looking for a super easy super fruit to grow, you’ll want to consider growing an aronia berry bush. This little-known berry bush offers double pleasure. It is grown for its beauty as an ornamental. With deep green foliage as the backdrop for its pretty white flowers in the spring, and with the […]

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6 Tips for Better Results Growing Strawberries

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Strawberries are a versatile little fruit. From cereal/salad topper to smoothie flavoring to tart pastry filling, this is a fruit you can incorporate into breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverage, or dessert. In addition to packing a bounty of Vitamin C, you’ll also get 5% or more of your daily nutritional value of manganese, fiber, iodine, folate, copper, potassium, and […]

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