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Invaded by neighbour's bamboo


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  • Invaded by neighbour's bamboo


    Thank you for letting me join your forum.

    I am relatively inexperienced when it comes to gardening but have plans to improve on this!

    I currently have a big problem with the neighbour's bamboo, which is growing just the other side of my fence. I have spoken to her about it a few times, but she doesn't seem willing to resolve it.
    I have an overlap fence and it grows through the fence panels and also underneath the fence and is coming up all over my vegetable plot. I am continually digging up rhizomes and cutting them as far as I can go but they are coming through the concrete and need cutting on the other side really.

    I feel I need to resort to a weedkiller and I've read that glyphosate weed killer is the best to use. But I have 4 dogs and am concerned for their wellbeing. I also am very sensitive to a lot of chemicals.
    I don't particularly want to damage or kill the neighbour's beloved bamboo, but I'm getting to the point when I don't care if I do. However they are apparently not easy to kill so maybe no danger of that.

    Has anybody got any useful suggestions that could help me? I am about to give boiling water a try!

    Many thanks
    Jennie x

  • #2
    Hi Jennie I rather think there isn't a good answer to your question - just a series of possible workarounds which may or may not be of any use in your case. As for weedkiller, bamboo is a member of the grass family but obviously one that spreads by underground roots rather than seeds. IF your neighbour' was on board with the weedkiller plan then you'd have to hit all the bamboo at once - probably chop it down first then apply a weedkiller when its started to regrow after cutting. As you need weedkiller which will kill grasses my guess would be that any surrounding patches of lawn would be killed too. Anything short of this scorched earth action means the neighbour's bamboo stays and re-invades your side of the fence.

    Other options :-
    1) an underground barrier eg some old sheets of corrugated iron set into the ground on edge and hit down in to a depth of say 2' and as near to the fence as practical (this would be a ton of work to do well)
    2) leaving a 2' wide strip of grass your side of the fence which you mow every few weeks in the bamboo growing season, the rhizomes will grow under this but hopefully will be a bit easier to dig out once they have spent some energy get to your beds.
    3) give up on doing much more with this section of your garden, say turn it into a wildlife area with a pond to reflect the elegant bamboo stems.
    4) apply for an allotment


    • #3
      ^^^ wise advice!

      According to this interesting site.....

      the rhizomes grow down about 12"

      My plan of action would be to get hold of some wriggly tin and dig down along the fence line and slot it in as a barrier to below that depth. Taking out any rhizomes you find!
      This worked on my last allotment controlling scutch grass and bindweed
      "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nicos View Post
        ^^^ wise advice!

        According to this interesting site.....

        the rhizomes grow down about 12"

        My plan of action would be to get hold of some wriggly tin and dig down along the fence line and slot it in as a barrier to below that depth. Taking out any rhizomes you find!
        This worked on my last allotment controlling scutch grass and bindweed
        Is "wiggly tin" the same as corrugated iron, or merely a related product ? :-)


        • #5
          Ha!... yes! Corrugated iron.
          'wriggly tin'
          Last edited by Nicos; 03-06-2020, 11:53 AM.
          "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple


          • #6
            I will look for some wriggly tin!! Though I do like the idea of a pond, and probably the only place I could put one is where the veggie patch is as it's the sunniest spot and I need the lawn for the dogs. (It is a very small patch!) Also I am going to look at an allotment tomorrow as it happens. We don't have any in the village though so I have to drive to a neighbouring town.

            I will get someone to come and help me with this plan, probably in the autumn as things are growing now.

            It's not only the rhizomes though. I have clumps of it seemingly buried in concrete at the bottom of the fence and I can't dig these out. Some of these are above ground. They are shooting out rhizomes from my side now. Also the shoots are forcing their way through the fence panels from the main plant, potentially damaging the fence which I've just replaced.

            It's coming at me from all angles!

            Thank you for all the advice!


            • #7
              You can get an idea from the photo how huge it is. Unfortunately south is straight through my fence and it's very determined.


              • #8
                I would let the roots grow in for about 6 inches and lift them up and drill down the pith and fill them with white spirit or diesel and seal the ends.
                I have done it with wild blackberry and it died back a foot or so. It should push the roots back a little over the boundary and judging by the size will most likely not be spotted.


                • #9
                  It's a biggish plant, fortunately it does seem to be mostly in one clump on your neighbour's side. So I would go for the barrier option first i.e. dig down about 18" as a slit trench your side of the fence for the width of the bamboo clump plus an extra 12" at each end - the barrier material can be wiggly-tin or anything else you can get for little or no money and which won't rot eg polycarbonate sheet, old tiles or slate - this is to be a vertical barrier going down as far as is practical - so water the ground a bit first, forced a spade down in to form a slit, set the barrier vertically in this slit and if its metal such as wiggly tin hammer it down a bit further to be on the safe side - I'd reckon to do this I'd set aside two half days as its better to take your time do it properly so it doesn't halve to be done again. Once the barrier is in place then any bamboo left in your garden should be dug out or as in the case of the concrete clump poisoned with weedkiller as a last resort.

                  BTW you have a very good site there for growing fruit against the fence, either fan or espalier top fruit such as cherries or apricots or cane fruit such as loganberries or blackberries.

                  Happy gardening and good luck with the allotment


                  • #10
                    Thank you for further advice. Forgive me for late thank you as keep forgetting where this site is and it hasn't been telling me when there's a reply.

                    The deal with the allotment is signed and paid for so I'm mulling over the options. But I am considering moving all the planting to the allotment in the autumn and having a pond instead. I've always wanted a pond and can't have one at the allotment. That would give the opportunity to seriously attack the invasion.

                    I have read that the rhizomes will not grow under water, but am a bit worried they might pierce the pond liner. Would that be likely?

                    At the moment I'm pouring boiling water on the shoots and clumps, which seems fairly effective. It's also not harmful to anything other than whatever tiny creatures are in its path - but that would apply to chemicals as well. It's halted the ones growing through the fence slats as well for the moment, but I'm going to have to go up a step ladder and try and chop it off on the other side when my neighbour is not around!

                    I will start some new posts as I have lots of allotment questions! My bit has never been cultivated and has never been anything other than a field.

                    Thank you again for all the advice, really helpful and will take it all on board.



                    • #11
                      With reference to your pond liner, the answer is yes the roots will almost certainly go looking for the water and make holes in it. I have just made a pond in my garden for wildlife, the edges are quite shallow, so where I wanted the deeper water, I sunk our old bath tub under the liner, so the tree roots from next door will have to try and drill their way through a cast iron bath tub!!(It may not stop them but it will slow them down for a few years I hope).
                      Click image for larger version

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                      If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.


                      • #12
                        No worries - just pop in when you have 5 minutes, no rush on- I think a new pond is an excellent idea - v good for wildlife obviously.

                        I think I'd want a solid barrier if I was going to put in a flexible pond liner - of course it would only have to go on the side where the bamboo invasion is coming from, and as you'd be digging out for the pond anyway that means it would not be much extra work. The type of barrier rather depends on what you can scrounge up cheaply or for nothing - plastic or metal panels/sheets would be my first choice, they don't have to be pretty or new to do a job underground - for example an old wheelie bin with the ends cut off and one vertical cut would give you a good sized piece of plastic, or put an ad on freecycle to see if anyone is taking down something with a roof - if a material can keep rain out it will probably stop bamboo shoots.

                        The other option is a solid pool liner. By coincidence, I've been looking at this area as my current pond liner has a leak, so I'm planning to replace it. I've been surprised by the number of solid pond liners for sale second hand on eBay. If I can find one near to me then I'll probably go that route myself. Has to be fairly close though as I want a biggish one, and don't fancy driving back from Birmingham or Bristiol with something humongous strapped to the roof of my Volvo. :-)

                        BTW I have a fairly hefty clump of black bamboo growing in an awkward corner of my wilderness. I harvest 20 or 30, 7' or 8' canes from it annually, which makes it a useful resource for me. I think I paid about 2 for the original plant from Wilkinsons in a 3" pot.


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