Thursday, June 27, 2013




(The corner of our neighbor’s garage and their bamboo forest. 
If you look closely you can see our pale yellow siding behind the bamboo.
Also the trunk of their lovely tree that drops crap leaves on Russ’s car all year long.)

Our neighbors have a lovely crop of bamboo between our house and their side yard.  We worried about it (and it’s invasive nature) when we first bought the house, but then forgot to worry about it as we moved in and started worrying about things like “why do we have no hot water” and “why is everything we own in a box in the garage” and “is there really a squirrel having seizures in our backyard???”

Right before we left for Utah I noticed what looked like a very tall corn husk standing in the arborvitae hedge between our driveway and the neighbor’s driveway.  About a 3 foot tall corn husk, to be specific.  Then when I looked closer I saw another.  I realized that the dreaded moment had finally come—the bamboo forest was invading.  We were busy getting ready to leave for Utah and really didn’t have time to deal with it.  By the time I got back Sunday night I was startled to see that the bamboo shoot was now at least 10 feet tall!

Yesterday afternoon I drove to a place in the hills that sells bamboo.  My purpose in going was to take them a sample (pilfered from my neighbor’s grove) of the bamboo so it could be identified, and to ask if I could possibly transplant these new bamboo shoots into my backyard in a place where I would love to have a bamboo screen.  I found out that I probably don’t have to worry that the bamboo will destroy my foundation (good, I was) and that I would have to let the shoots grow for a year before I could hope to transplant them and have them live.  (No, not willing to do that.)  The very nice guy explained exactly how we (read Josh) would need to dig up the bamboo and it’s connecting rhizome in order to get rid of it.

Fortunately Josh’s friend Tyler is visiting right now from North Carolina and Josh wanted to go to a couple of movies without using his little bit of money.  So we were able to do some wheeling and dealing.


I actually think they were both fascinated enough by the whole process that if I could have gotten them going they would have done it for free—it was that interesting.

Here is the bottom of one of the bamboo shoots. 


And here is the top that Josh had already broken off of that shoot.


But this is what is really interesting.  (Besides the fact that in addition to the 2 big shoots I already knew about there were about 4 more hiding in the bushes.)  DSC_7172

Bamboo plants spreads by rhizomes, thick rope like root things that move through the ground, sending out roots and sending up shoots.  They look like this.


Aren’t the roots kind of crazy looking, coming out in a circle all along the rhizome?

We had 3 different rhizomes in that 6 or 8 foot length of hedge, all of which appear to have come under the corner of our garage.  (And going deeper makes them stronger, from everything I’ve recently read online about invasive bamboo.)  Tyler & Josh pulled and dug everything out, and cut the rhizomes back but left them sticking out of the ground so that we can remember where they are.


We’ll need to chop off any new growth every year to keep them from sprouting in the hedges again.  One day (when I have an extra $50) maybe I’ll go back to the bamboo place and buy a pot of bamboo to screen out that little bit of the house I can see behind us.  And in the meantime, I’m going to be looking at this bamboo on the other side of our back deck, and wondering where the next shoots are coming up…



  1. THat is not Tyler! Excuse me while I have a little freakout about the fact that my boys will one day have facial hair....

  2. That is nuts! I've heard about bamboo..lookout!