How to Keep Bamboo From Growing


Bamboo is known for its endless ability to proliferate. For home gardeners, it can be a nuisance that requires regular removal and maintenance. Bamboo is a rhizome that creates underground networks of roots and stems and can be hard to kill from above ground. To keep bamboo from growing, install an underground barrier to keep new shoots from invading your yard. Remember, a rhizome barrier does not prevent growth but forces rhizomes to grow in a certain direction.

Step 1

Choose a barrier. The barrier should be at least 18 inches long, though 24 inches is preferred. It can be made of concrete, metal or heavy plastic, and should be weatherproof.

Step 2

Dig a trench on three sides of the bamboo that is deep enough to install your rhizome barrier (18 to 24 inches deep). One side will be left open for root pruning and to keep your bamboo from becoming too root bound.

Step 3

Place your barrier in the trench. New rhizomes usually grow in the first four inches of soil, so be sure to place the barrier with two to four inches showing above ground. This will allow easy pruning if rhizomes attempt to grow over the barrier.

Step 4

Slant the barrier outward at the top to encourage the rhizomes to bend upward. A 30 to 45 degree angle will be sufficient.

Step 5

Fill in the hole with dirt. It is important not to leave any air pockets or loose soil around the barrier. Use your hand or foot to stomp out any air pockets and pack the dirt.

Step 6

Monitor your trench at least twice per year. Check for new rhizomes and cut away any new growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Barrier


  • Controlling Bamboo
  • Bamboo Garden
  • American Bamboo Society

Who Can Help

  • Controlling Bamboo Photos
Keywords: bamboo, control bamboo, rhizome barrier

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. Her work has appeared in various newspapers, magazines and journals. Shipman has also authored three collections of poetry: "Cold Days," "Bastante" and "Short Poems." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Southwestern University.