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Archive for July, 2009

With this old house, we inherited a large clump of bamboo on one side of our yard.  It has been a great privacy screen and looked very cool.  The problem was that it was spreading rapidly and we initially thought, after much consulting and research, to but a barrier in the ground, a two foot deep hard plastic sheet that would prevent the roots from spreading.

early bamboo clump

early bamboo clump

The fact that the bamboo was dropping its leaves everywhere all summer was another problem.. It is 2o plus feet high and is called black bamboo.  Well prized but not correctly used in this case.  The barrier worked, kind of, but it pushed the roots into the neighbors yard, growing another clump of bamboo in the back of his house.  It also started growing more vigorously and we soon had a monster in the yard.

so after a trim

so after a trim

here the barrier was put in place into the ground and then this happened:

the year after the root barrier

the year after the root barrier

The stalks were multiplying, all the time confined in a four by four space.  So, I was constantly chopping it back and it just seemed to rebel by growing faster and stronger.  John got some bids on removing it and he said it would cost about $700.  This seemed absurd to me.  I found two guys, landscapers, out of business, on craigslist, whom we employed and paid $20 per hour each.

They cut down the bamboo, leaving some 10 stalks intact as per John’s request,  and then proceeded to chomp at the root system.  They found a massive clump, and a pick axe had to be used.  Luckily we had one in our basement. Then the handle to the pick axe broke.  They had to go to the store to get another handle.  Then the tip of the pick axe broke.  Then they started to use a chainsaw to cut though the root system.  It ran out of oil.  Then they had to go get car oil for it.  All this in 100 degree heat.  They said they never saw such a thing.  This bamboo had an unbelievably gnarly, tough root system.  I am sure this happened because we enclosed it last year and it had nowhere else to go.  So the lesson is this; do not plant bamboo unless you want a bamboo forest and a bamboo root system taking over your entire yard!!!  IT IS INCREDIBLY IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTAIN!  if youd o do it right, be prepared for maintenance.  I just couldn’t do this myself , it requires a sturdy strong hand of a gardener, or your husband, if he is willing to put in the time!

huge mess of roots

huge mess of roots

root samurai

root samurai


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