Bamboo plants are one of my favorites. It doesn’t look like anything else, and it requires very little upkeep. That “very little upkeep,” however, is extremely important if you want to keep your bamboo from growing too much.
It is a common misunderstanding to say that bamboo plants are an invasive species. Bamboo, however, is not really invasive. If you have a bamboo patch in your yard, it isn’t going to suddenly start growing in all of your neighbors’ gardens. In truth, the key to controlling bamboo lies in understanding how it can invade small spaces. Instead of bamboo spreading wildly across the neighborhood, it’s much more likely to take over the small area of land where it is already growing.
Invasive Species vs. Bamboo Plants
An invasive species is a species that can take over ecosystems by traveling large distances. The primary way that most of these invasive plants grow is through their seeds by planted everywhere by nature. Bamboo does not grow like this. It requires perfect conditions for its seeds to sprout. When bamboo expands, it grows because of its root system.
Different Types of Bamboo Plants
There are two basic forms of bamboo: running and clumping. With running bamboo, the shoots and branches represent only half of the plant itself. The other half is spreading out in a line about a foot underground. When people talk about bamboo being “invasive,” this is what they are referring to. Roots of running bamboo can grow up to around 20 feet. So if they are planted close to a neighbor’s fence, they often spread into their yard. Fortunately, you can stop the spread by cutting up the root or using a small barrier. Small, underground barriers work well since the root systems of bamboo do not grow deep.
The second kind, clumping bamboo, does not often spread into other yards. Instead of long root systems, clumping bamboo roots look like bulbs on the bottom of the stem. Clumping bamboo does not spread easily because of this. However, if clumping bamboo decides to spread, it is much more difficult to remove.