Bamboo rhyzone trimming?

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by echo2400, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. echo2400

    echo2400 Member

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    louisville ky usa
    I'm planing on moving some bamboo to a 6'x300' bed. couild I just doubble dig the bed plant the bamboo and mulch with horse manuer with wood shavings. Then in fall till around the bed to cut off the rizones. And talse them back in the bead, Or could you just cut a trench using a sidewalk edger?
  2. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Coquitlam, BC
    A sidewalk edger may not dig deep enough to get some of the rhizomes. You will also need a garden tool that's tough, with a very sharp edge, and that allows you to put weight on it. Bamboo rhizomes are pretty tough material. I use a 12 inch square spade, with the edges honed to the sharpness of kitchen knives.

    But it all depends on what variety you grow. I tend to rhizome trim in late spring, and then repeat in the fall. That's when the rhizomes haven't quite fully toughened up yet, and, therefore, are easy to cut. You also want to get rid of the rhizomes before they establish satellite clumps. Young rhizomes without culms and foliage to provide nutrients will not survive.

    If you depend on rhizome pruning to control spread, you need to be comitted to doing this chore twice a year, every year, without fail. This might be a bit onerous given the size of your intended bamboo bed. 300' by 6 ' equals to a distance of 612 feet - I don't know how fast you can work at this, but I bet it will take a number of hours to rhizome prune it. You should consider anything that will make your life easy:

    1. Bamboo rhizome barrier - but this is going to cost you $$$, and is not 100% foolproof. But it is still the surest way of controlling it's spread.
    2. Your idea of digging a trenche is a good one, but not not with a sidewalk edger. Depending on the variety of the bamboo, you should consider a trench, at least 8-10 inches deep, and 6-12 inches wide around the grove. Fill this with a mulch, and every spring, lift the mulch, and dig beyond the bottom to look for rhizomes.
    3. I am not aware of any tilling machine that will deep enough to do the job well. But, presumable, you can till the top 6-8 inches of soil, then dig further down with a spade. At least, this will facilitate the job.

    Contrary to common belief, repeated mowing around the grove does not prevent spread. Satellite clumps are fed by the parent clumps. Unless you severe the rhizome connecting the satellite to the parent, mowing does nothing to get rid of the errant clumps.

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