I didn’t start out to have bamboo thickets in the middle of my garden. I guess I was terribly naive.
My father had planted an edible bamboo on his place. It was big and beautiful. After he died I dug up a small piece of it and brought it home.
Bamboo seems to be hard to transplant. I’ve given pieces to several people and none have had much luck. Lucky them.
I didn’t know where to put this tiny plant and put it into a small corner of my garden until I could decide. It didn’t move. Instead it grew tentatively for several years.
Then the bamboo decided it liked this corner of my garden. The bamboo thickets arrived and got bigger each year.
Bamboo is a grass. Like many grasses, it spreads by runners. The bamboo in my garden has never flowered. This is lucky.
The tiny plant now covers a ten foot square and isn’t content. Every year I dig up ten and twelve foot runners going out across the garden. They are tough, well rooted and a back killer.
I decided to get rid of my bamboo thickets. It’s plural as some runners went undetected so there are adjacent patches now.
I discovered the bamboo is used by several creatures I want around my garden. Toads hide in it. Wrens nest in it. Praying mantises lay their egg cases in it.
I can’t keep pulling the runners up. My back complains mightily. The solution is to kill out the bamboo. Where would these creatures go?
This year I trimmed the bamboo thickets back to a six foot square area. There are mantis egg cases in this area.
Next spring I will destroy any bamboo that comes up anywhere other than in that area. Of course I said that another year and failed. I must get serious or my entire garden will become bamboo thickets. Where is that vinegar and salt spray recipe?