My Yard Is Buried In Bamboo

greyfurball
greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Pest & Weed Problems/Solutions

Forty seven years ago I moved onto this property.

My mother had a good friend which was trimming out her bamboo grove so she gave my Mom two 4" sticks and told her to poke them in the ground. It would grow into a tree.

Mom lived on a small property and she did not want a tree. Trees grow... there would be no room for them so she gave them to me.

I was a true unbeliever. I had no idea how two pieces of a stick (no roots on either end) was going to become anything but a dead stick. Boy, was I ever wrong!

We have consistently over the last 40+ years had to trim the grove back because they just keep multiplying. But now the "grove" has become a jungle! Every time I hear anything about panda bears I sure do wish I had some. I have a built-in food source, playyard etc. just for them.

But this stay-at-home campaign means I now have time to tackle the jungle. I have thousands of trees laying all over my back yard (that was just one day's cuttings with a chain saw) and each and every one has to be trimmed by hand to get the branches off. It's too dangerous to use a hedge trimmer because a limb is not wide enough to use electric or gas equipment without the risk of the blades getting caught and ripping the trunk right out of your hands. So I am using a hand pruner or lopping shears to remove them all. It works OK, hand gets a little sore after about 5-6 hours a day of this but it works.

But I am now only at the first few thousand trees trimmed and I have fresh and dried bamboo laying everywhere in big piles.

I started looking at the internet the other day to get some ideas what I could do with some of these before I end up giving them all away (I hope someone wants some). I already use them in the garden for pretty much everything as stakes, poles, teepees etc. I have made flower bed edgings and borders etc.. But I need more ideas.

Anybody else ever use bamboo for anything or have you seen bamboo used in an attractive way? Remember I've got tons of it to use so don't think we have to stay to just small projects, I've jokingly told several people in the last couple of days, I could build a bamboo community of houses and I'd still have some leftover. Thanks for the help.

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Comments

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @greyfurball No ideas for you but I am wondering if you were to put the bamboo in a buried garden pot, would it keep it contained? If so, would you be willing to mail me a stick? I'd be willing to pay postage and a reasonable handling charge.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    I have seen fun bamboo “she sheds”/tiki huts. Or use as you please. Tie a bunch in a big circle (whatever size is comfortable) and lay more over the top for a roof, if you are inclined a peaked roof is even better. I have thought this sort of design would make a great above ground sweat lodge or meditation area.

    Also the make great wind chimes but it sounds like you could manufacture these and sell them with as much bamboo as you have.

    I wish you were close by, I’m looking for some to make a couple of screens. The utility company recently took down a line of trees that exposed parts of my backyard to the neighbors. I’m friendly but I like my privacy!

    Cutting bamboo is a huge chore, it will never end until you can dig it up and then it will be 10 years of digging up and getting rid of babies. I ONLY plant clumping bamboo (not running) and I plant them in galvanized tubs with NO drain holes. I layer the bottom with about 20 inches of rock and then soil to plant them in.

    Also if you haven’t yet, don’t forget about Pinterest! 1000’s of ideas!

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    Building a garden shed, a planting station, a raft, etc. lol. I would recommend you "sell" or trade them as people seem to think something is better if they had to pay for it. Plus you could likely get seed money or whatever lol. I'm so glad that when I first wanted to grow bamboo that I did not do it as I knew nothing about "running" or "clumping" bamboo. I think it would do quite well here. I like your idea @herbantherapy of growing it in galvanized tubs!

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    And @greyfurball I sympathize with you! I cut two pieces off the roadside to make walking sticks years ago. I had a handsaw...and I thought I would NEVER get through! And then more trimming when I got it home. It did work wonderfully when we were trekking over a small mountain area. Sell walking sticks? The ideas are truly endless.

  • Melinda
    Melinda Posts: 123 ✭✭✭

    Have you thought about seeking them in bundles on Etsy, for Garden use?

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @tomandcara my initial impression of your idea would be to say yes, the tub should work until I thought it through some more.

    About ten years ago I took out an area of a couple hundred trees and the ground was covered with all these beautiful leaves, dried but they were still papery crisp. At the time I was thinking I am not wasting these, I used them for mulch all along the front flower bed which wraps around the front and side of my house. Ever since then, I now have to "weed" that bed of all the small bamboo starts coming up in the bed.

    All of those leaves seeded that bed with new bamboo growth. Every month I had to wait till it rained (so the ground was soft) and then pull out all those little tree shoots. And a month later do it again, and again, and again. The little guys just kept on coming.

    Finally the next year I broke down and got some chemical weed killer (which I have never done before) and it did kill all the growth above ground. Didn't stop anything underground though.

    The next year I put down newspaper and the black landscape fabric and then mulch. Took a few weeks but it grew through.

    In the fourth year I just layer flattened cardboard and then mulched that. That took until the middle of Summer before they were coming up again. The last year I saved cardboard for two whole years and then put the flattened cardboard down 4 layers deep plus 6 inches of mulch on top. So far this Spring I don't see them breaking through yet. By the time the cardboard all decomposes though, well I don't know.

    So my advice, unless you have lots of space, you do not want the variety of bamboo I have. But again, if you are willing to give it a try just let me know.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Wil comfrey, thickly planted as a boundary stop the spread?

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball I am wondering if your bamboo could be adapted to houseplant use, where leaves and roots could not spread? (I do have a vision of sweeping leaves in the house though.)

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 I have never grown comfrey so I can't tell if that would be a remedy or not.

    And @shllnzl , thanks for the laugh.Yes, I can just see it making me more housework...!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I've been wondering about that. I like to make furniture and all kinds of stuff out of bamboo - giant timber bamboo. So, I'd like to grow some. Comfrey roots deeply and shades the ground. I wonder if you could surround a patch of bamboo with a barrier of comfrey, and hedge it in. I know bamboo can send runners under a driveway, but if comfrey... or maybe alfalfa... or something else ... has a dense root and can shade out other plants… if that might work?

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭

    @greyfurball Thank you for the warning. We have a small suburban yard so probably not the best idea to get your bamboo started here. It just sounds wonderful because I don't have to actually deal with it. I am guessing that wonder would fade after a couple of years or so.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 I don't think the comfrey would work, only because it's rate of growth is slower than bamboo. But it's a good idea. I wonder what would work for that and would not then become another problem)? Oh, for control how about goats? They will eat the bamboo and even strip some of the bigger stalks which might kill them (not sure about that though). Of course then you have to keep the goats from getting out lol. Shoot, I'm not getting anywhere am I? 😂

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin
    edited April 2020

    Well, goats are a must have, along with chickens and pigs... and I do enjoy eating bamboo shoots. I wonder too... maybe bands of things like comfrey, mint, horseradish, bamboo, blackberries, etc could hedge each other in? Basically, if it can go rampant... why not use that? But also, I cut it and use it constantly. Biochar and fuel when dry, When green... gosh, you can turn bamboo into anything form a deck to a house to bed, to a trellis, to a fence, to seasonal piping for water... even flower pots if you cut them right.... even wine or water bottles.... fishing poles... Bamboo is AMAZING stuff! You have to figure out how to use it... not as an ornamental!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Here are a couple of books that will give you over 1,000 ideas of useful things you can do with bamboo!!!


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I also made a very deep bass digeridoo from timber bamboo.... it is a monster to play, but you could probably hear it in the next county!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    I could fall in love with this woman! https://youtu.be/_jUJrIWp2I4

  • EarlKelly
    EarlKelly Posts: 230 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball how big does your bamboo get? Is it the timber variety? Got me wondering about possibilities now. Sounds like a lot of work getting it cleared out. You’ll have to post photos of your new found yard or garden.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    greyfurball I wish it would grow in Alaska. I would gladly deal with it's spread. There are so many ways it could be used on a homestead. Between yourself and critters eating it, making fencing, Flooring for decks, or outdoor shower areas, Gazebos, I don't know if it is a specific variety, but the inner fibers are used to make cloth with and the cloth is naturally antimicrobial, wicks away moisture. Etc.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @EarlKelly because some of it is so old/ some so new it is anywhere from 1/4" diameter (at the bottom - the newer growth) to up to 2"+ diameter at the bottom (the old growth). The height on the pieces range anywhere from 10 feet for the new growth to about 40 feet for the old growth. So yes, these suggestions to make fencing, build a gazebo, build a house etc. are all completely possible since I have such a large asst. and so-o-o many pieces.

    This morning we got an area cleared out with the chain saw and right in the middle of it we found a full grown apple tree. Every once in a while I have been finding crabapples in my yard late Summer and now I know where the tree was they come from.

    So far, the only one though that I can say I am upsetting is the migratory birds. They come now and find their forest is dwindling down in size with each passing day. I keep telling them to have patience. Since this stuff grows and spreads by underground runners, it will be all back soon.

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 isn't it amazing what all we in modern times can forget - or never know to begin with - all because we have let the old-fashioned traditions die away with our past generations?

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 thank you so much for all these links to the art of furniture making using bamboo. I am going to have to check them out and see if I can find the books in print somewhere.

    The nice part of bamboo is whatever you have, a new crop is always coming along anyway so I am always guaranteed fresh materials.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin
    edited April 2020

    @greyfurball It is like Bill Mollison always said, turn the problem into a solution. He said, "You don't have a snail problem, you have a duck shortage!" He saw the slugs as free food for ducks and duck poop as free manure... and eggs, meat, etc. I bought some giant timber bamboo seeds, with plans to put in a small grove as soon as I get moved permanently.... I'll dig a ditch around my stand of bamboo and trim the roots/runners back regularly. I would like too find some barrier plants in case I get sick or injured and can't root prune for a year or two. I've also been working on breeding a less vigorous kudzu to raise as a food crop.... now THAT is crazy.. at least, in the South!

  • smockv
    smockv Posts: 44 ✭✭✭

    @greyfurball i would gladly take some off your hands! I have an overflow at my pond that nothing will grow, bamboo would make a good addition to that area...pea and gourd trellis also comes to mind

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I find bamboo fascinating, there is so much indeed that can be done with it. @judsoncarroll4 you are a veritable fountain of resources! I loved that video - she made it look so easy. Shoot, I would marry her (even though I'm not inclined in that direction) lol. You are right about turning the problem into a solution. Sometimes I get so bogged down with the weight of issues I don't see the benefits...but I'm working on it lol. I really hope you can find something that works for you @greyfurball.

  • karen
    karen Posts: 80 ✭✭

    hahahaha

    I live in southern Ecuador. I looked for clumping bamboo and couldnt find any. so I made do with four bunches for a screen for my covered deck. Well, that worked - too well. Once a month I am circling the deck and looking for shoots coming up - as much as 6 ft away. it iwll come up through the spaces in the floor boards as well.

    And, yes must use my hands to strip any branches when it gets too thick. the bigger branches i , too, use in the garden but the smaller stuff goes over the brick wall onto the side of the ravine. the leaves I use in the compost and as mulch. the only barrier I have found that keeps the entire screen from advancing is a pathway. It has been created by myself and one of the dogs. nothing but a few weeds grow ont his pathway. Just hardpacked dirt. No doubt that's why the roots travel so far out into the yard but that's OK.

    In the end I am thankfull for the screen as is provides welcome shade and the slightest breeze ruffles the bamboo. One of my old cats had a fave spot on the deck right behind the screen.

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 I love that YouTuber! I showed my husband a few of her videos and told him if he had to leave me for her I'd understand, lol. She's amazing.

    @greyfurball I know this doesn't help you at all, but I've got a bare eroding hill my goats have destroyed, and now I think you've given me an answer! So thank you! 😉

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    @smockv and @vickeym plus anyone else interested...

    I don't mind sending some cuttings out to anyone. All I ask is if you help with the shipping costs since that's not cheap anymore.

    Let me know and we will find a way to get mailing addresses etc, not thru here.

  • Lesley
    Lesley Posts: 28 ✭✭✭

    I can attest to that as a really good way of keeping bamboo under control. We had one in a concrete planter - it will split a flimsy plastic one!