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Help with Running Bamboo Rhizomes

Dan O
3 months ago
last modified: 3 months ago

Bamboo people, Please help, and thank you in advance for your suggestions. I'm kinda desperate here so apologies for the lengthy note but there are lots of issues with my project and I'm pretty discouraged.

I adopted (and planted) some giant vivax bamboo last Spring. I love it, but today I found a rhizome escaping under my barrier. I can't dig the barrier lower in this area (its a problem area) becasue there is a GIANT French Drain directly underneath the grove (the drain is filled with 5/8" rock and is literally 5' deep/ 3' wide). In other words, the BARRIER is already sitting on top of the French Drain. The only way i could dig it deeper would be to excavate the drain and displace a huge amount of gravel (this would ruin the drain fabric, too).

A local bamboo wholesaler told me that the rhizomes try to find water and warmth, so that (in combination with the shallow barrier) would explain why the rhizome is breaching where it is- right? The breach is at the Southern most part of the grove (maximum sunlight), and (to make matters worse..), there is a natural spring right there. There literally is water seeping up from the ground in this area 365 days /year.

I am getting ready to spend some very hard earned money on a retaining wall (so I can backfill the dirt and level the raised mound). I've been working for weeks preparing the site, but now I'm afraid that if I install the wall (stone drystack) it will make it much much harder to find any other escaping rhizomes. Adding to the complexity, the area is not level- it's sloped in some areas. The average depth of the barrier is probably 18-20 inches.

Adjacent to my vivax is a (larger but smaller plants) dulcis plot. I found a dulcis rhizome pretty low today. It was contained within the barrier, but another 6" deeper, and it would've gone under. I'm afraid my barrier will ultimately fail and I'll have a yard full of (impossible to contain) bamboo.

Can I control my bamboo? How? I've invested hundereds of hours and I really don't wanna rip it all out. I included a photo of the French Drain so you can see what I'm dealing with. Even stories you may have which could boost my confidence will be much appreciated. I'm actually feeling anxious about this because I'm getting ready to spend some serious money on materials for my retaining wall. I've had thoughts of aborting the project and taking out my plants, but this idea makes me feel really sad.


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