Q. What kind of barrier do I need for running bamboo?
To prevent a running bamboo from spreading, a “rhizome barrier” is essential. A barrier at least 3 feet deep is generally effective. A barrier does not stop a running rhizome; it only deflects it. So the barrier should be slanted outward at the top, away from the bamboo at a 15-degree angle, so when the rhizomes hit it they will bend upwards. This should prevent the rhizome from growing down and under the barrier. The barrier should also project two inches above ground level to stop rhizome from going over. Check the barrier once a year in September or October and cut off rhizomes that arch over the top.
Barriers can be concrete, metal, or plastic. The usual recommendation is high-density polypropylene, 40 mil or heavier (depending on the bamboo type). The polypropylene is glued or taped at junctions, or clamped with stainless steel clamps. Frequently termed 'root barrier', this material comes in rolls or hinged sections and is available from landscape suppliers and bamboo nurseries. More elaborate barriers with corner posts that hold the material at the proper angle are also available. A pond or stream can also act as an effective barrier for running bamboo.
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- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service