I am bamboozled, help!

broadleaf bamboo
Photo credit: Ask an Expert
Q:

Greetings - any tips or resources on helping rid, or at least control creeping bamboo?... digging up is partially helpful here, but a water pipe located below the main plant makes it problematic... mainly want to control the shoots....seems like repeated applications of RoundUp is the most common suggestion so far... attached is a photo of the broad leaf variety we're dealing with

- Lane County, Oregon
A:

Glyphosate (regular Roundup) is not terribly effective on established bamboo. Trench deeply enough around the perimeter to have exposed all runners. Back dig out the runners as far as possible. Keep the bamboo canes and sprouts cut down constantly. Here is some information from a bamboo expert.
Bamboo can be controlled in a small area by mowing or stepping on the young shoots. Mow a broad (fifteen to twenty feet) mowing strip around the planting, especially in the spring, when the new growth is tender. Runners that are creeping over from a neighboring yard will have to be cut off. Sever the runners from the mother plant and cut off any new shoots. This will deprive it of all food sources and it will die off. An intensive effort over multiple years will be required to completely eradicate bamboo. The easiest way to prevent unwanted bamboo growth is to install a root barrier between the bamboo grove and the bamboo-free zone. Dig a trench approximately 36 inches deep. Use rolls of fiberglass, aluminum flashing, cement or 40 ml polypropylene in the trench. Leave about 2 inches of the barrier above the soil to discourage rhizomes from growing over the top of the barriers. Few herbicides are effective on bamboo. They can also kill nearby ornamentals in the process. If herbicides are used do not plant herbaceous ornamentals or shrubs in that area.

Pat Patterson
OSU Master Gardener Volunteer
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