Once established, a running bamboo plant can be fast spreading and agressive - showing up in all kinds of places where you don't want it to. The secret to getting rid of bamboo or at least controlling it is to know how it grows.
Bamboo goes through two growth cycles each year. In spring, it puts all of its energy into new upright canes and only a little bit of energy into roots. As the season progresses, more energy is put into rooting and less into sending up new canes. The roots of a running bamboo spread and grow by way of underground rhizomes or roots. These rhizomes will travel a variable distance and then form a node. At that node, they will either form a new cane, or make a new section of rhizome and continue to travel. This is how it is able to show up some distance away from the main plant.
With that said, getting rid of bamboo is not a sprint, it is a marathon. There are several strategies that you can use to get rid of it.
First, build a containment system. Just like a forest fire, you want to keep it contained so it does not continue to spread while you work on it.
Second, dig out as much as you can by hand or by machine. The goal here is to weaken the mother plant. The more roots and leafy green growth you remove, the less energy can go into the plant to rebuild it. Note that you have to dig out all of it, or the rememnants can form new independant bamboo plants. This is something you may have to do several times as one attempt is never enough.
Third, any product that kills grass can also kill bamboo. While not eco-friendly, products like Roundup and Killex are very effective at killing bamboo.
For more advice on how to get rid of bamboo, call us at 604.882.1201 or visit us in person at Arts Nursery Ltd.