By: Julie Day
In the evenings, I like to do what I call the Bamboo Dance, which involves walking around the yard and stomping down bamboo shoots that sprang up during the day. My yard is bordered on one side by a tall hedge of running bamboo, which means that my entire yard is an underground network of bamboo roots (rhizomes, actually) just waiting for me to turn my back.
Running bamboo is an amazing plant – it’s graceful, tough, and spreads like lightning. In the right setting it makes a spectacular screen or dense grove – in smaller gardens, however, it rapidly begins a plan of world domination. It grows through anything, and the roots are tough as steel pipes.
It grows so fast that if you stand still for a minute, it’ll grow between your toes. I’m serious – I went out of town for a three-day weekend, and when I returned there were shoots seven feet tall! My own research has yielded only two suggestions:
- Inject the roots with massive quantities of herbicide (which only predicts mediocre results).
- Dig a deep trench around the patch and completely encapsulate the area in concrete (really!)
Since I try to avoid chemicals (and I don’t need a parking lot), for now I’m sticking to the Bamboo Dance – because I can’t possibly appear any crazier to my neighbors than I do already. I welcome other, less embarrassing ideas, and meanwhile I’ll keep you posted!