Talk to our experts about Bamboo removal & control by PBA Solutions
Bamboo comes in many shapes, sizes and colours and is, at heart, a type of grass. Chewed incessantly by pandas, rigged into scaffolding many storeys high in Hong Kong and used in a slightly smaller format to give our runner beans something to hold on to, bamboo is as versatile as it is prolific. In the right setting, bamboo is a lush and architectural addition to a garden, commonly used as a living screen to lend privacy to outside spaces. However, in recent years bamboo removal, or control of the plant, has become more common as property owners seek a solution for a non-native species that can quickly overrun a garden. If bamboo does get out of control, it can cause major problems for homeowners and, perhaps more significantly, their neighbours too.
Bamboo knows no boundaries
Bamboo ignores boundaries, can wreck paving and tarmac, will swamp other vegetation and sometimes causes structural damage to retaining walls and steps. With civil claims on the increase, if bamboo from your garden is causing these sorts of problems for your neighbours, it might be time to take action.
Bamboo rhizomes in the ground can quickly spread far and wide, popping up new shoots along the way. Small sections of the rhizome can produce new bamboo plants easily, so careful management of the plant itself and the soil it inhabits is essential.
Controlling bamboo is usually best left to a specialist and when it comes to eradicating bamboo growth, calling in the experts is the most sensible option.
If you read far and wide enough, you’ll probably find a different bamboo control suggestion for each day of the year. Although there certainly are different control approaches that work, each will have its drawbacks and advantages; the surroundings and nearby plants and features may add another layer of complexity affecting the decision-making process. For these reasons, if you need to control bamboo that is becoming a problem, bringing in a specialist to assess the situation and provide appropriate treatments is a sensible move.
New bamboo shoots emerging
At PBA Solutions, we are able to draw on years of experience dealing with invasive plants. We provide accurate surveys and bespoke bamboo control plans, using the methods best suited to each individual case. From herbicide treatments (foliar and stem) to physical bamboo removal, PBA Solutions supply everything needed to get the job done.
Foliar herbicide spray
Applied at the right time, bamboo control by professional herbicide application can be extremely effective. Normally needing repeat applications, this method can take a few years to fully control bamboo growth. Where bamboo is very tall, this can affect the bamboo removal cost. If the bamboo stand covers a wide area or the setting is sensitive, herbicide spray may not be the best option. And, while herbicide treatment is normally the cheapest bamboo control method, you might need extra patience while it is being conducted.
Stem cutting and herbicide injection
If you want to remove immediately the visual impact of a bamboo stand, cutting it low to the ground is an obvious way to do it. However, this won’t prevent the bamboo growing again and certainly won’t kill it. For a much more effective treatment, herbicide can be used in conjunction with stem cutting to control bamboo growth and spread, by injecting the bamboo stumps with the appropriate herbicide mix. Specialist kit is needed for this operation. Alternatively, the hollow cavity made visible by cutting can be filled with the herbicide mix. A third option is to spray herbicide onto the foliage after a good amount of regrowth has occurred; generally speaking late spring and late summer would be ideal times.
Selecting the best method
All of the methods described here will likely need to be repeated over a number of years, with the size and health of the bamboo being a factor in how long it will take to get full control of the bamboo.
For most circumstances, using off the shelf herbicides will be a very time consuming business, and you may simply injure the bamboo instead of getting it fully controlled. At PBA Solutions, our professional spray operatives are trained in the safe use of commercial herbicides and are experienced in selecting the right technique for the job which gives a far better chance of effective and lasting results.
Excavation and removal
It’s not always desirable or necessary to use herbicides to control bamboo. You may have some very precious plants that are growing next to the bamboo, or be opposed to herbicides for ethical reasons. Physical bamboo control is achievable in most circumstances and, although it may be a bit messier in the short term, it’s also a far quicker method of getting the job done.
Bamboo rhizome can be extremely tough and, although it doesn’t normally spread deep into the soil, digging out bamboo can be a very demanding job. Small stands can be taken out by hand digging but for larger or more established bamboo stands, an excavator may be essential. PBA Solutions offers all types of bamboo removal services, and we look at each job carefully to provide the best solution to each case.
It’s generally more hassle than it’s worth trying to compost the waste generated by excavating bamboo, so removing it off site is generally the best option. PBA Solutions will take care of the bamboo removal process from start to finish, leaving you to enjoy a newly created space for some fabulous planting, or opening up an area that had become overgrown and unusable.
Root barriers are specialist products and some can be used to contain bamboo growth, either before it ‘escapes’ or as part of a remediation strategy. Getting a bamboo barrier in place before you plant out is the most sensible, economical and practical way to prevent unwanted spread. Before we go any further, a word in your ear; weed suppressing fabrics that you see in garden centres will not do the job – bamboo rhizome will simply grow straight through them.
How to control bamboo
The root barrier will be installed in a trench; this can be any shape you like and will be dictated in most cases by the space the bamboo is going to inhabit. For a bamboo barrier, it’s sensible to take the trench to a depth of 600 mm and before you start digging, decide how much of the bamboo root ball you need to enclose – the most secure method is to fully enclose the bamboo with the root barrier. You’ll need to allow for an ‘upstand’, a portion of the barrier that stands proud of ground level (100 mm should do the job) and stops bamboo rhizome from growing over the top of the barrier. If you are fully enclosing the bamboo, allow for a decent overlap for joining the ends of the root barrier (300 mm is a good guide for most scenarios). A bit of time spent planning before putting a spade in the ground will pay dividends and allow you to work out how much bamboo barrier you will need.
You can of course, plant your bamboo in containers or raised beds but always make sure that there is a physical block in place between the base of the container and the ground it’s resting on, otherwise there’s nothing to stop the bamboo sneaking out of the bottom and potentially getting into the soil before you’ve noticed what’s going on.
PBA Solutions is a specialist supplier of a range of root barriers and we are also experienced installers. Our range is designed to suit many different purposes and can be ordered in a variety of widths and lengths. CuTex geotextile root barrier is permeable, allowing horizontal placement without water retention occurring, while VertiRoot is a solid barrier perfect for longer vertical installs.
If you’re thinking of buying some bamboo for your garden, take a moment to consider that, if you plant your Sasa palmata or Phyllostachys nigra like any other border filler, you’ll be entering into a very long-term relationship that may become an expensive nightmare.
Do your research into bamboo species; double-check that what you’re buying is what it says on the label. Remember, there are specialist growers and sellers out there who know bamboo inside-out. Use a root barrier to line your planting area before you let the bamboo loose; protect your property boundaries and the spaces you want to keep bamboo-free!
Do you require help or advice about bamboo in your garden?