How to Stop Bamboo from Spreading (Solved & Explained!)

The single most effective way to stop running bamboo from spreading is to completely uproot the plant entirely and remove all root fibers that are still in the soil. If you do this, then don’t pull the plant up from the limbs.

Rather, you’ll want to dig down low and remove the plants fully so you don’t risk breaking them apart and giving them another opportunity to root themselves. Running bamboo species tend to grow much more aggressively than clumping bamboo ones, so you don’t want to give them any chance to grow outward.

Assuming you can’t just flat out remove the plant, you might want to consider pruning the roots using a clean and sharp tool designed for this task. Don’t ever try to do so with a dull blade.

How to Stop Clumping Bamboo from Spreading

Clumping bamboo isn’t as aggressive as running bamboo species are, but you’ll still want to completely uproot it if you don’t want to have it spreading everywhere. Get underneath the plant and pull up any problem samples by the roots.

Ornamental gardeners who are planting clumping bamboo on purpose might want to consider getting into a regular rhythm when it comes to root pruning. There’s also the possibility that installing a barrier between your bamboo and other plants would work, since some examples of clumping bamboo can’t climb over them.

Look into this option if you’re working with any type of Robusta bamboo, which is normally one of the types that’s less aggressive. You will want to keep in mind that all forms of bamboo are aggressive to a point, however, so make sure that any barriers you put up are strong and tall enough.

How Deep Do Bamboo Roots Grow?

While it depends largely on the specific type of plant you’re talking about, both running and clumping bamboo specimens can produce roots that stretch down as far as three feet. That means you’d need to dig down that far to get up the roots if you were trying to get rid of a certain plant.

In general, roots will grow deeper in moist areas. Running bamboo roots tend to grow more deeply if they’re given the chance to, though these might end up clumping close to the top of the soil in some instances in spite of their name.

Take special precautions if you live in an area with soil that’s rich in sand or clay. While bamboo roots will grow deep in these environments, plants might easily tip over and uproot themselves if they weren’t able to get a solid base.

Will Bamboo Grow Through Gravel?

Ornamental gardeners shouldn’t necessarily be encouraged to plant their bamboo through gravel, but it can be done. This is a popular choice for those building rock gardens, and a particular bamboo layout that grows underneath a top layer of gravel has been a common feature of architectural gardens in Japan for several centuries.

Problem bamboo species are well-known for spreading rapidly through gravel, however. You’ll want to watch out if you’re dealing with any of the following specimens on a problem basis:

  • Incense Bamboo
  • Madake
  • Golden Bamboo
  • Sweetshoot
  • Castillon
  • Moso
  • Water Bamboo
  • Black Bamboo
  • Henon
  • Tiger Bamboo
  • Walking Sticks

Many of these belong to the Phyllostachy genus, which has become somewhat known for it’s ability to grow around certain obstacles. Almost any bamboo will do best in soil that’s neutral to maybe slightly acidic, which gravel may sometimes provide depending on the makeup of the stones in question.

Does Cutting Bamboo Make it Spread?

Cutting bamboo from the top won’t usually make it spread, though doing so also isn’t really effective as a control method. You’ll want to work on the bottom of the plant and prune the roots if a particular specimen has become a problem.

Keep in mind that many cuttings, especially those that contain at least some portion of root fiber, will be viable and can grow into a new stalk. As a result, transporting bamboo debris between different areas of your garden or farm could potentially make it spread.

You’ll want to dispose of all cut bamboo pieces in a way that won’t allow them to root themselves again. Compost them in a dedicated tumbler so that they can’t just turn right back into green plants.

Only use the compost that comes out of these tumblers once you’re absolutely sure that the plants inside have broken down. Even seeds from cuttings could potentially spread a plant.

How Do I Get Rid of Bamboo Forever?

Digging up the entire root system and moving the bamboo plant to somewhere that it can decompose naturally is the preferred way of dealing with it. Some gardeners have found that burning down bamboo or pouring boiling water on it is effective, though it’s also dangerous and might get you into regulatory trouble.

You can, however, incinerate uprooted bamboo plants if you’re cleared to burn by your local county authorities. Making the soil more alkaline by adding cow or horse manure and planting various crops that like a high pH, such as tomatoes, is another good way to deal with the problem.

How Can I Stop My Neighbours Bamboo?

Build an adequate barrier between their plot and your property line. If you’re dealing with clumping bamboo, then this should be enough to keep your neighbor’s bamboo out of your yard.

Make said barrier go down several feet into the soil. Since even the deepest bamboo plants can’t normally produce roots that are deeper than 2-3 feet deep, it’s best if you can make the barrier drop down 3½-4 feet in the ground.

Assuming that there’s nothing legally stopping you from doing so, you’ll also want to cut down any limbs that grow over into your yard. Dispose of these properly like you would any problem bamboo stalks in order to prevent them from turning into new viable plants that could take over whatever area you use to dispose of them in.