When you do a "Search for the Answer" on PLANTanswers.com
for the term "Bamboo", you get this write-up:
"In the proper setting, ornamental bamboo is useful as a
specimen plant, screen or windbreak. Unfortunately, some bamboos
SHOULD NEVER be planted this side of Hell!!! But some species
of bamboo are aggressive creepers and become a real nuisance when
spreading to areas where they are not wanted. From this uncontrollable,
rampant growth pattern comes the common name for bamboo in this
area -- Damn-boo. The aggressive bamboo can indiscriminately emerge
through concrete walks, home foundations and even in darkened
garages! There is more than one way to control bamboo. The choice
of a method or the combination of methods depends on the circumstances
under which it is growing."
"A large clump of bamboo looks as though it would be hard
to dig out -- but it really is not. Its many horizontal rootstocks
are close to the surface. All pieces of the shoots and rootstocks
should be removed or regrowth will occur."
Timber Bamboo is the strongest wood in the world
"Cutting bamboo shoots close to the ground, then removing
the regrowth each time it reaches 20 to 24 inches in height will
eventually kill established plants. Success with this method depends
on exhausting the food reserves stored in the roots. The prompt
removal of the shoots as they reach 20 to 24 inches is essential
It will have to be performed many times over a period of a year
"The length of time required for eradication can be considerably
reduced by using the right chemical in the right way. There are
several types from which to choose:
--Sprays that kill only the foliage they contact, such as cacodylic
acid or vinegar for the organic souls, should be applied each
time the regrowth reaches 20 to 24 inches in height. These chemicals
substitute for the cutting of the shoots; their application must
be repeated to starve the root.
-- Sprays that are taken up by the leaves, such as dalapon, MSMA,
DSMA and glyphosate, and carried down to kill roots. Dalapon is
available as Dowpon and glyphosate is available as Glyphosate,
Roundup, Klean-up and Weed-and-Grass Killer. Spray the actively
growing leaves to wet and allow a six hour drying period. Even
with these herbicides and mixing a double strength solution, repeated
treatments will be necessary to completely eradicate established
plants. To prevent these chemicals from injuring roots of trees
and shrubs in the area, irrigate thoroughly before treating. Then
do not irrigate again for 7-10 days."
"The bamboo should ONLY be planted in an inclosed, "containable"
area from which this devil-plant can escape. The majority of "problem"
bamboo originates from a neighbor's planting. So BE CAREFUL and
BE CONSIDERATE when planting bamboo or better yet, NEVER plant
Before long these folks will have to use a machete to get a hamburger!
I wrote this on July 1, 1990, and unfortunately the bamboo situation
has not improved. Invasions continue to occur from uninformed
people who plant bamboo as a screen and eventually move away to
leave the entire neighborhood to battle this horrible creature.
Nearly twenty years ago I gave this horror the name "Damn-boo"
in honor of the many neighbors who battle this pestilence year-after-year
and cannot move to another neighborhood.
In 1995 when PLANTanswers was started, I shared the horror story
of bamboo, now Damn-boo, with the world. It was not long that
the few dozen people who actually like bamboo in Texas begin to
show their colors:
QUESTION/COMMENT: Thank you for the valuable resource that you
provide at PLANTanswers.com -- I am a big user and fan of your
network. As a master gardener I value your resources but, as a
bamboo enthusiast I must take some exception with your fact sheet
attached to the bamboo web. Your description of DAMNBOO is certainly
deserved for some instances but - so is English ivy, morning glory,
Bermuda grass, etc. You do not give nearly enough information
about non-invasive (clumping, pacymorph, very slow growing or
climate restricted leptomor phs, etc.) types that deserve better
press for Texas gardeners. Bamboo is not only beautiful as a container/contained
specimen plant, it is a great erosion control species, an good
edible crop, timber/pulp alternative and a fabulous "mow
it once a year" ground cover. How about letting some real
experts (not me particularly) do some work on your web link to
make this more accurate? I'm not just a hair-brained big grass
RESPONSE: No, maybe not a grass nut but DEFINITELY a bit on the
naive side when dealing with the here-and-now of bamboo!! We never
have trouble controlling "English ivy, morning glory, Bermuda
grass, etc." - to compare them to bamboo is foolish. Your
description of bamboo as "a beautiful as a container/contained
specimen plant, it is a great erosion control species, a good
edible crop, timber/pulp alternative and a fabulous "mow
it once a year ground cover" brings to mind two other such
plants which were introduced into the U.S. with the same claims
- kudzu and nutsedge!!
However, you are not the only person who has called our attention
to the "vicious attack" on bamboo - YOU ARE THE SECOND
among thousands who want to know how to control your "useful"
SECOND COMMENT: Whoever wrote that piece on "Damnboo"
needs to get a grip or at least understand that not all of us
live in suburban neighborhoods. I live on a spectacular piece
of salt water and have a fine neighbor (a professional fisher
person) who has a yard full of old machinery, dead boats etc.
I also have a flourishing stand of running (invasive) bamboo between
us and another neighbor. My problem is not controlling the existing
stuff, but transplanting it to the roadside/driveway verge between
us and the first-mentioned neighbor. I have tried digging up new
shoots and transplanting with zero survival rate. Because of vicious
attacks like yours, no self-respecting nursery carries real bamboo
any more, so what should I do? Suggestions for other evil, invasive
large plants that will grow in the shade of coastal South Carolina
will also be appreciated.
Another "evil" plant that makes a good screen is Arundo
donax (giant reed), a grass that looks like a bamboo, but has
a more refined ornamental habit. Pampas grass is also another
good one, but it is not as tall and is a more contained clump
Sometimes a military tank can't pentrate a bamboo hedge
RESPONSE TO THE SECOND COMMENT: I guess the old saying "One
person's trash is another person's treasure" applies to bamboo
but I hate to even use the idea that there is a place where the
spreading bamboo can be safely planted. Of course, those who know
bamboo say there are dwarf, slowly spreading forms of the plant
which are wonderful for landscapes. "Damnboo" is the
commonly cultivated Phyllostachys aurea (Golden Bamboo). I realize
I am stereotyping the other hundreds of types of bamboo. However,
99% of all bamboo sold is the invasive, indestructible type because
nurseries can propagate that form much faster. This type of invasive
bamboo should NEVER be sold to the unsuspecting public because
it is practically un-stoppable.
Since you think I am over-reacting, let me give you my perspective
on this situation. I have been an Extension Horticulturist in
San Antonio for over 20 years. Barely a week goes by or a talk
radio garden show ends that the horrors of bamboo are not exposed.
I have seen complete yards taken over; I have seen concrete sidewalks
buckled by; I have seen garages (closed to outside light) filled
with; I have seen swimming pool foundations cracked and punctured;
I have seen it actually grow into houses and crack foundations;
ALL by invading bamboo. All of these commonly occurring incidents
have one thing in common - the neighbor who planted the bamboo
has moved away. I have NEVER found the culprit who planted bamboo
in a ravaged neighborhood. Obviously, these folks took the best
advice we give to people concerning how to get rid of bamboo -
SELL your property and MOVE far away.
Able to lift landscape timbers with a single sprout-- it has to
be the dreaded Damn-Boo!
Some might say control and containment is the answer to this specific
type of bamboo. IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!! The professional horticulturists
at the San Antonio zoo (one of which is a member of the Bamboo
Society and a great proponent of the "good guys" bamboo!!)
decided to plant the indestructible bamboo in concrete containers
and put them in the lion and tiger cages. You want to guess who
won that battle of survival?! The bamboo root system cracked the
concrete containers, found some cracks in the concrete floor of
the animal cages and within two years had gotten so thick that
they had to take the lions and tigers out of the cages. They are
now stuck with trying to control bamboo through a concrete floor
- it is an everlasting battle.
Horticulturists have gotten so many calls about how to control
bamboo-out-of-control and the options are so few that one fellow
began offering a plan to co-exist with this invasive plant by
thinning the canes into a Japanese garden style!! The rampant
bamboo is comparable to snakes and mushrooms - the majority of
snakes and mushrooms are harmless but the few that are poisonous
are deadly. I do not recommend that people eat wild mushrooms;
I do not recommend that people pick up unknown snakes in the woods;
and I do not recommend that people EVER plant bamboo.
With constant pruning your bamboo forest from you rneighbors yard
canlook like this!!
I appreciate the above compliment "Because of vicious attacks
like yours, no self-respecting nursery carries real bamboo any
more" - I can only hope that I have done something to eliminate
this horrible pest. Maybe then the void can be filled with the
"good-guys" bamboo and we can all live happily ever
after. I have been growing some extremely dwarf bamboo which unfortunately
spreads so slowly it will probably never become commercially feasible.
I had planned to use it as a turf replacement and name it NO -
MO since you would not have to mow it NO - MO; you would not have
to water or fertilize it NO - MO; you would not have children
walking across or playing in your yard NO - MO because of the
bamboo spikes which would be formed when you did mow it!!! It
sounds like the best turf sod ever - GOTTA LOVE THAT BAMBOO or
is it D A M B O O !?!?
Until more of the "good" bamboo becomes readily available,
the bamboo-is-DAMNboo tag will have to stay. The majority of people
who come to PLANTanswers and inquire about bamboo are trying to
GET RID OF IT!! PLANTanswers has had TWO people complaining about
the DAMNboo nomenclature. So now that we have the bamboo situation
clarified, let us look at some options.
I mentioned in 1990 that "sprays can be used that are taken
up by the leaves, such as dalapon, MSMA, DSMA and glyphosate,
and carried down to kill roots. Dalapon is available as Dowpon
and glyphosate is available as Glyphosate, Roundup, Klean-up and
Weed-and-Grass Killer. Spray the actively growing leaves to wet
and allow a six hour drying period. Even with these herbicides
and mixing a double strength solution, repeated treatments will
be necessary to completely eradicate established plants. To prevent
these chemicals from injuring roots of trees and shrubs in the
area, irrigate thoroughly before treating. Then do not irrigate
again for 7-10 days." Some Damn-boo Rambos have found that
there is a better way to apply the glyphosate herbicide.
A technique which has worked for some folks is:
1. Cut the emerging bamboo off just below the first node or beginning
of second section on a shoot.
2. Cutting below the first node exposes a hollow stem. With a
dropper or sprayer, immediately fill this entire hollow stem or
cavity with pure, undiluted glyphosate herbicide once a week for
3. Wait 3 months, then dig up what is left of the root system.
Pull as much of the runners out as possible. Some of these runners
may be 12 feet long.
To get rid of DamnBoo you have to use the herbicide Remedy
Other people who are wanting to commit bamboo-icide are using
a more potent chemical named Remedy. Remedy is a glyphosate-on-steroids
and should not be used in the vicinity of desirable trees and
shrubs. Bamboo is not on the Remedy label; so people will need
to be treating the hackberry or oak seedlings growing in-and-amongst
the bamboo. Actually, there is not anything really labeled for
Remedy can be mixed with water or diesel. The most effective
solution is a one part to 3 parts diesel solution. This will of
course burn everything it hits, hence the cut off and treat is
the easiest application and drift is not a big problem. You can
mix the product with water as long as you use a good surfactant.
However, the water mix has been known not to kill poison ivy.
The Remedy label is at: http://www.cdms.net/ldat/ld0B4001.pdf
Remedy is not a restricted use pesticide so anyone can purchase
it. It is not readily available at nurseries but in San Antonio
is sold by Estes Incorporated (Tel: 210-590-1012) at 4718 Center
Park Boulevard for $105 per gallon (price on Sept., 2005).
Some folks may not want to become "natural born killers"
and may want to hire a bamboo "assassin". People who
claim to be able to take on Damn-boo and eradicate it are hard
to find. In fact, I have found only one-let me know if you know
of others. This person is in Austin and is a member of the Texas
Bamboo Society and the American Bamboo Society. I was a bit suspicious
until I saw the webpage at:
http://bamboospecialists.com/ It reads:
Did you know there are types of bamboo that DON'T spread ?
More on that at the end of this page. First let's talk about
AGGRESSIVE !! INVASIVE!!!! TAKES OVER!!
In order for bamboo to become a nuisance it is necessary that
it be regularly and consistently neglected over a number of years.
In this state, it not only fails to achieve its potential as
an almost spiritual space, but it also becomes an attractive host
* accumulations of waste and refuse
* vermin and varmints
* other unwanted visitors
Bamboo in a drought MAY look dead but DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!
In many cases local city waste disposal facilities won't accept
Dead and dying material which is not removed or mulched contributes
to mold and mildew.
Branches and protruding stubs present a real hazard to those
who would try to enjoy the depths of a grove.
Untended grove edges may violate city ordinances or threaten
good neighbor relations.
When a grove is properly maintained it is never again necessary
to remove dead material, or fight through a jungle of growth.
Mature culms are harvested as a sustainable resource. Selective
thinning takes places during shooting time.
I wonder why they refer to this as timber bamboo. Some bamboo
lovers actually planted this at the Botanical Garden. Don't worry
though--I am sure they can control it
The time for neglect is over.
Bamboo Specialists can help a grove reach its greatest potential
or can remove the problem entirely,... permanently.
Clumping bamboos send their new shoots up right next it's neighbor.
Running bamboos may put up a new shoot 10 or 12 ft from where
the last one appeared. Clumpers stay in one spot, their base growing
wider, slowly over the years.
There are many clumpers that make fine selections as plants to
provide visual screen, sound barriers, and aesthetic appeal.
AND THEN THE PAGE WHICH READS: Bamboo Specialists began out of
a deep appreciation for bamboo. We realize not everyone is so
enamored, nor do we expect everyone to share our affection. (NO
KIDDING!?!?!) In any case, our goal is to help you better enjoy
life, with or without it. Bamboo that isn't appreciated needs
to be removed from where it doesn't belong. Bamboo that appears
to be getting out of control needs care and attention. If you
know you want it gone we won't try to talk you out of it. If you'd
like to know what bamboo could be, we'll try to show you.
Be careful where you have your picnic.
NOW A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR: If you decide to use these folks,
I want to know how many of you they talk into keeping the bamboo
and "managing it".
While we will NEVER accept the use of Damn-boo in residential
landscapes, in the sake of fairness, we have put a link in the
Miscellaneous Section of the Information Index at: http://www.plantanswers.com/resources.htm#misc
of PLANTanswers.com under the title of Bamboo a link to: http://www.americanbamboo.org/FAQ.html
which is a page by the American Bamboo Society trying to convince
you that Damn-boo can be lovely Bamboo. This propaganda may convince
a person whose landscape has not been invaded but those of us
who have been "violated" by Damn-boo will never be fooled
again!! "Fool me once, Shame on you!!! Fool me twice, Shame
QUESTION: I hate bamboo and it isn't my bamboo,
however, it is growing on my property, is there anyway to kill
that blasted stuff????? I've tried Roundup, thought about pouring
diesel on it, I just don't know what to
do. Can you help?
ANSWER: I think this must be the first bamboo
question we have EVER
received. Thanks for sending it in!!!!! It seems that we did write
bit about this problem at: http://www.plantanswers.com/bamboo.htm
FOLLOW-UP COMMENT: *LOL* well, glad I could
be the first. I did get
online and read some things last night about it. It is termed
an "obedience plant" apparently, one guy said, "it
is an obedience plant alright, when I was growing up I got it
used on my rearend and it made me an obedient person." Another
guy said, " use agent orange and napalm and you might want
a helicopter." But I also got some other information about
it as well that might be a little more helpful if I work like
a dog at it. I will read what you all wrote. Thanks for replying.
ANOTHER FOLLOW-UP COMMENT: Well, it certainly
is DAMN-boo, I can say that, I do have MSMA maybe I will try that
and the part about keeping on cutting the stalks that shoot up
is what I read last night, that is the way it gets its food/energy
and not getting it will kill it, that was what I meant by working
like a dog, but I always have anyway, so that shouldn't hurt any.
It also mentioned the diesel, hey, when all else fails, get deisel...when
you grow up in the country you learn these things...anyway, thanks
again for sending it, I don't intend on living here but a few
years, and I do want it to sell and a yard always is a selling
point in my book. So like the article said, sell the property
and move far away.
HELP!!!! for California
My city is seriously trying to help get a neighbor's invasive
stand of running bamboo removed. Our City Council is DESPERATE
to know of precedents wherein other cities have successfully used
their nuisance law to require
abatement of bamboo, or passed an ordinance banning bamboo, especially
if such ordinance was then successfully used retroactively.
They want to act quickly, as this stand is getting out of hand
already, and due to placement, will already be very difficult
to remove fully.
PLEASE, please respond!! I need to know if anyone there can help
us with this.
Lynn Parsons has been researching the bamboo problem and laws
for you. Below is what he found:
(1) See: Alien Invaders in Your Yard AND Don't Get Bamboozled
at the bottom of:
(4) I'm not having any luck finding ordinances passed against
growing bamboo. I actually think a better approach would be to
have ordinances which addressed remedies for encroachment of any
plants such as bamboo onto another person's property(see attachment)
rather than banning what people can plant.
(7) Although the text is somewhat hard to read, here is anther
case of litigation over damage to a neighbor's property done by