Please talk me out of planting bamboo

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I am extremely tempted to plant bamboo as a privacy screen in two separate places on my property. This is my second year of finding myself thinking "I don't care if it's an invasive!"

    My dilemma is this: one side of my property skirts two other homes. In essence, I live on one hill, there's a deep hollow between us and they live on the next. There are large trees in the hollow skirting the properties, so I don't want to plant trees or, say, Leyland Cypress as a screen. And I don't want to plant annuals because I don't want to replant every year. Finally, I just hate hate hate privets and the like.

    Bamboo seems to suit my purposes, as it's fast growing and doesn't require all kinds of doodling around with.

    But it's an invasive. However, I've convinced myself I can deal with that.

    If no on can talk me out of this, I'll be planting it this spring. Please talk me out of this madness --- or, if you think it's a good idea, tell me why. TIA! :cowboy:
     
  2. romancemelisa

    romancemelisa Well-Known Member

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    when we lived in M.S. we planted some around our pond, on one side of the waterfall, it went around the water fall through the filter system and up on the other side, never again, i think there would be alot of thinning to keep it in check.
     

  3. Jeff54321

    Jeff54321 Well-Known Member

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    I think that its invasiveness is a function of climate. In a warm humid environment it will go crazy. In a more moderate cooler climate it will spread but slowly. It works well as a privacy screen.
     
  4. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Jeff, it's very warm and humid here. One thing I'm trying to figure out is whether I can control its growth.

    Part of my reasoning is this: I managed to stomp out three hillsides of noxious invasive bushes the first year I was here and that stupid rose --- I forgot the name of it but the one they planted back in the 40's as cattle screens which went mad and now takes tractors to pull out --- well, it didn't have a chance with me once I started getting after it!!

    So, if I was able to obliterate that horrible bush and that awful rose, surely I can control bamboo --- I think.

    ?

    So I suppose I'm looking for horror stories to talk me out of this madness.
     
  5. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    You could try planting in a border of sorts...I'm not really sure how bamboo spreads, but, I was watching an episode of Judge Judy (ha ha ha!) and they were fighting over bamboo that had been planted, and one of the suggestions was placing something around the plants to prevent it from spreading. I don't know what would work, but I'm thinking about something like cutting the middle out of a 55 gal plastic barrel and inserting that in the ground and planting the bamboo inside? Would something like that possibly work? I'm assuming it spreads by root shoots.
     
  6. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My brother planted a little bamboo, and now has a lot!!! If you want a quick screen, it will probably do the trick. However, the only thing I know that is more invasive is kudzu. If you have a local county extension agent, why not ask if they can recommend something else...maybe even something that you can gather a harvest from. Good luck.
     
  7. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    I am interested in this topic.

    Isn't bamboo incredibly useful for things? How deep to you have to border it to keep it from spreading? Would a small clearing in a woods do it? Or would it just grow up between the tree roots... How would it do in Ohio?

    Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  8. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Thanks, Catherine. Considering how much time all my neighbors' animals (not to mention, the neighbors themselves :D ) spend on my property, I doubt they'd complain. I'm always finding their kids in my woods hunting or their horses eating the plants on my front deck or their cows hiding in the bushes. :D

    Ramblin, that's a great idea. Surely the extension could point me to something better and talk me out of this complete insanity.
     
  10. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    If its anywhere near a property line,dont do it.If its a clump in the middle of your acres,its OK.
    You just dont stamp out bamboo,or even dig it out.That stuff is tough beyond all you can imagine.
    Been there,done that.

    BooBoo
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Is that for your,errr,'friend' who lives in Ohio perchance?

    The nursery had a huge clump in the middle of the place,I liked it.

    BooBoo's, errr,I mean,...BooBoo's 'Friend' who lives in Calif. too
     
  12. justmyluk

    justmyluk Well-Known Member

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    Why not make a side business out of it. Plant your bamboo and let it spread to where you need it. Then when you have to thin it out, just cut the shoots that would make good bamboo fishing poles (7 to 9 feet). Let them dry, spray them with varnish, put a short piece of fishing line on it with a bobber and a hook (your cost about 50 cents) and sell them to small bait shops for $2 to $5 each. Might help supplement the egg money when the hens aren't laying. Just a thought...
     
  13. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Whoa! So according to the link Catherine posted, a clump bamboo should be relatively easy to control.

    Oh man, you did it, Catherine. You have now led me to believe there is no reason in the world not to plant bamboo, as long as it's clump and not running. This is dangerous!!

    I knew my big plan to get myself talked out of bamboo would backfire.
     
  14. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    I assume the clumps can be dug and split for propigation too... so, you could be deliberate about it then!
     
  15. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    my brother has some and it will not spread fast enough for him. he said that it can be kept from spreading by using a barrier in the soil. it spreads from root suckers i think.
     
  16. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Even better, I just found a place through Garden Watchdog which sells only clumping bamboo: Tropical Bamboo

    Well, glad I finally solved this one. I've been obsessing over this for months now. Now I can just plant me some nice clumping bamboo and start obsessing over other things, like whether my big spring project should be that nice sleeping porch I've been scheming on for who knows how long.

    Thanks!
     
  17. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Good freakin' heavens DON'T DO IT!!!

    Here is my story from the Testers site:

    I am currently in my third year of my Bamboo Eradication Project. I planted on the advice of a friend, who never had a problem--course he sold that house! I planted it in poor rocky-clay soil, even where they used to dump the old coal scraps. You don't need good soil necessarily and you don't need to water it. It is pretty tough. It took 4 years and then took off, with no added soil amendments. It was beautiful and green year-round (through winter snows)and 15 feet tall. I do not know the exact species, but it was the runner type. I did try to eat them and only the very early spring shoots were good to eat, and we couldn't keep up with eating them.

    Deer, rabbits, coons, do not eat them in any of their stages.

    Chemicals do not kill bamboo. I am an avid organic nut and I resorted to chemicals to aid me...and was dismayed when they did not work. Installed barriers of many kinds DO NOT WORK for long. Runners literally run over the top of the ground as well. I would mow the shoots down and they would show up 10 feet away. I had it as a visual barrier (worked great) from neighbors, but have been lucky they are patient. Shoots have shown up under their air conditioner (30 feet away) under the kids swings (20 feet away) and into their lawn. I did use a flamer to try to keep it in hand and that worked for a day or two. In the spring to early summer growth is phenomenol.

    Please reconsider including bamboo as a good idea---or at least make a stronger stand against it. Maybe grown only in pots?

    I have read stories where the bamboo has uprooted foundations. My friend, here in WV, inherited about 15 acres of land that had been neglected for years and was filled with a 70 year old stand of bamboo. Wanted to know what I did to get rid of it........I cut each stand to the ground by hand. Then I tried the above-mentioned chemicals and flamer (really pointless).....then I mowed the area twice a week for 3 months or more each year and continued hand cutting anything the mower and wheedwhacker couldn't get too. I suggested a controlled burn for him. It was literally a jungle.

    This is the third year I am following the above program. I literally just came in from hand cutting some that have sprung up during this warm weather here. I did put an ad in the Penny Saver that said "if you cut it, its yours" back when it was tall and the task of ridding myself of it seemed overwhelming (it does make nice trellis's and tomato stakes) but I refused to be responsible for more people planting it and generally tried to discourage them from rooting it. Ask Diane from Michigan--I begged her to not hold me responsible for any future problems!

    It took another two years to get under control. I am still having to trim some starts each year. A nightmare. It can ruin a property and smother native plants. Wild animals do not graze it in any quantity.
     
  18. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    my brother has some and it will not spread fast enough for him. he said that it can be kept from spreading by using a barrier in the soil. it spreads from root suckers i think.
     
  19. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    BCR, apparently there's two types: running and clumping. The running type sends up runners everywhere and is hard to eradicate. The clumping variety, however, is apparently easy to control.

    If you go to the link Catherine posted, they have info on the difference between controlling the running variety and the clumping.

    Your story, however, is exactly why I posted this thread. Sounds horrible!
     
  20. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Sunset Magazine has had some excellent articles on non-invasive bamboo, through the years. Go to their website and do a search. It will give you the botanical names of which varieties you can safely plant. (and probably sources too).

    If you are looking to keep animals and people out, there may be some better botanical screen plantings (even with thorns) that might suit your climate and needs better. You might want to do a little more research before you order bamboo.

    BW