Monday, November 29, 2010

How to keep neighbor's bamboo out of your yard.

Bamboo can be a very effective visual screen in the landscape, but some species can out-grow their welcome. There are two types of bamboo: those that grow in clumps, and those that spread via long rhizomes.  The later are known as 'runners.'  The runners are the ones that can cause problems, especially between neighbors.  Runners spread rapidly, so they screen quickly and economically, but they don't know when to stop.

If you choose to plant running bamboo, do your neighbor a favor and keep it contained.  If your neighbor's bamboo is invading your yard, you can block it by installing a bamboo barrier.

Begin by digging a trench around the bamboo planting.  Mechanical trenchers are available from tool rental companies, or you can hire a contractor to do it.  Depending upon the site and type of bamboo, the trench may be from 22 inches to 34 inches deep.

High-density polypropylene, 40 mil or heavier, makes an effective barrier. It is commercially available and often comes with installation instructions.  The plastic barrier should extend above the soil surface at least 2 inches.  Replace soil on both sides of the barrier, and pack it well.

When the bamboo rhizomes reach the barrier, the shoots will be deflected upward for easy removal.

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