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Clumping types stay where you plant them and won't ever hop your fence or stray across your yard. Running types are the ones that can get away from you.
The good news is that if a few precautions are taken when planting, bamboos and grasses that want to stray can be kept in place. Download our Bamboo at a Glance handout for a handy reference to clumping and running bamboo types.
In the above photo, bamboo root barrier surrounds a planting of Black Bamboo Phyllostachys nigra. The barrier is made of 60ml (very thick) plastic and is planted in a 3 feet deep trench and sealed with a stainless steel clamp.
A few inches of barrier are allowed to show above ground. Bamboo roots are most likely to attempt escape by hopping over the top of the barrier, so if that happens, roots can easily be seen and cut back before they become a problem.
Bamboo root barrier works well to contain running grasses as well as bamboo. Blue Lyme Grass Elymus, Japanese Blood Grass Imperata and Giant Reed Grass Arundo donax are candidates.
The Bamboo Garden recommends digging a trench around plantings and pruning roots as they attempt to move into the trench.
Bamboo looks great growing in containers and using them is a good way to control spreading as well.
The roots of this bamboo have grown under the sidewalk and sprouted on the other side. Once this happens it is very difficult to handle.
Removing the growth above ground will only work until new shoots come in spring. To dig out the roots, the sidewalk will have to be removed. Spraying with herbicide to kill the roots becomes a viable option.
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5050 SE Stark, Portland, OR
9000 SE Division, Portland, OR