Bamboo is a really beautiful plant to have in your garden, however, bamboo also spreads like crazy if it is not controlled. So the question of how deep bamboo roots actually grow is one, that will eventually pop up if you have bamboo in your garden. Either because you want to get rid of it or because you want to properly control it. I personally have a small patch of bamboo growing on the edge of the fence and we had to make sure, that the bamboo does not spread over to our neighbors. So in this article, I will tell you everything, that I learned about how bamboo roots grow and how deep they grow.
So Bamboo roots grow about 2-3 feet deep. The roots are very thin the actual rhizomes, on the other hand, don´t go that deep. They are usually only 10 to 12 inches deep. This will make it fairly easy to either get rid of the bamboo or to control it with a shallow barrier.
There are obviously some exceptions to this but almost all bamboo variants, that are common in yards, will not grow any deeper than 3 feet. And the rhizomes will also almost never be deeper than 12 inches.
if you want to control your bamboo then creating a barrier around your bamboo is the best option.
Simply dig a 12-inch deep trench around the bamboo, cut all the rhizomes and roots back, and then put a barrier into the trench before burring it again.
If you want a very detailed guide on how to control bamboo, then you can check this guide out from Bamboo Botanicals. It goes into great detail on how to control your bamboo, what kind of materials to use, and what you have to look out for when creating a bamboo barrier.
If you want to get rid of the bamboo in your yard, then the probably best way is to cut the bamboo back and then unearth all rhizomes.
This seems like a very drastic and time-consuming method but it is, in my opinion, the best and safest way to get rid of bamboo. There are obviously a lot of different methods and products out there, that supposedly help getting rid of bamboo. Hot water, for example, is one of these methods but I personally got very mixed results. It all depends on the age of the bamboo, the variant and more.
So if you want a really reliable way to get rid of bamboo then getting rid of the rhizomes is the best way to go.
So to get rid of all the rhizomes you first have to cut back the bamboo.
Then start unearthing the rhizomes with a shovel. Rhizomes don’t have very thick roots, so you should be able to uproot them fairly easily.
Make sure to dig about 12 inches around the area where the bamboo grew as well, because rhizomes could already have spread that far away from the bamboo.
Take your time when searching for the rhizomes. If you miss one, then all your efforts were for nothing.
Don’t throw your rhizomes in the compost or the bamboo will just grow there.
How Fast do Bamboo Roots Grow
This is another concern, that a lot of people have when they hear, that bamboo should be controlled by installing a barrier, that stops rhizomes from spreading outwards. You will never see how fast the roots grow and a lot of hobby gardeners are nervous when they see a patch of bamboo growing in their yard. I personally had the same issue in my garden where we had just one plant and we simply let it sit there and only one year later that same lonely bamboo wasn´t so lonely anymore. So to make it easier for you to decide whether to create a barrier or to get rid of the bamboo entirely.
So Bamboo roots can grow very fast when not controlled. Depending on the Bamboo variant bamboo can spread between 1 and 5 feet per year. The roots of the bamboo will grow between 2 and 6 feet a year, also depending on the bamboo variant.
These numbers are quite general it really heavily depends on the growing zone, that you are in, and the variant of bamboo, that is growing in your yard.
There are also very aggressive spreading bamboo variants, that normally don´t grow in the US, fortunately. Most of the variants, that grow in the US will not spread faster than 6 feet a year.
So, hopefully, this will help you decide what you want to do if a bamboo sprout in your garden, or it may help you to decide if you want to have bamboo in your garden or not. And if you want to have some bamboo in your garden, how or if you want to control it with a barrier.
We personally didn´t react to our bamboo at all and after a year we had a giant bamboo patch in our garden. We actually had to make a barrier to hinder the bamboo from spreading to the neighbours garden. For now, we will allow the bamboo to stay where it is but if it spreads more or gets too high then we will probably either get rid of it or control it with a stronger barrier.
I would highly recommend doing something right away when you see bamboo or you will have similar problems than us. And it was really quite challenging to create a barrier after the bamboo already spread this far. We completely underestimated the speed in which the bamboo spreads and how fast it actually grows. Mainly because in the first year it didn´t really grow at all. In the second year, it speeds up drastically, however.