06 December 2009

Running Bamboo

I was behind the garage today and got a good look at the bamboo that I've been fighting since we bought our house more than three years ago. Once again it made me google "bamboo eradication", but this time I had a different plan of attack. I have read about and tried numerous ways of getting rid of bamboo. Herbicides don't work - I even read about cutting off the stalk and immediately spraying the herbicide on the fresh cut. Digging it might work, but it's back-breaking work. I know it's an environmentally bad idea, but I even thought of "salting the earth"! I just remembered that I had this conversation with a Lowe's employee who said she had a way to get rid of it, but she couldn't tell me while she was at work.

My latest idea struck me as a pretty good one - smothering the bamboo. I read a post about it and found out it's not foolproof. Bamboo rhizomes will eventually grow out from under what you are using to smother it with. I have some pond liner that I've been using to kill grass and make planting beds, but I don't have a large amount of it, and I didn't want to stop using it for that purpose. Posts mentioned inexpensive tarps - one mentioned using old carpet which I thought was a great idea. I made a mental note of it and went about my day. Soon after I had to run an errand and less than a block away were three rolled up carpets someone was throwing out. I brought them home and got to work behind the garage.

I usually don't want to go into the small stand of bamboo in the summer. There is poison ivy and ankle-deep Magnolia leaves with creatures probably living under them. Being as cool as it was today, I figured it was about the best time to venture back there. I started by cutting back the bigger stuff - small trees, etc, and then the bamboo growing along the neighbor's fence before I put the carpet down. While back there, I found spider lilies and a number of small Yaupon hollies. Some of the bamboo I cut, while I decided to lay the carpet on top of others, flattening it by walking on the carpet. I avoided putting the carpet on the areas with the lilies and the hollies until I can transplant those sometime this week. I think I've also decided that I'll go back and cut all the bamboo and put the carpet back down, so there's less of a chance of it rising up.

I still need more carpet and I need to prune a lot of plants and trees back there. That's where I'm planning to keep chickens in the spring. At this rate I don't know if I can pull that off. I'll keep you posted.

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