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How to stop bamboo from spreading?

how to build bamboo root barriers 5 easy ways

There are cheap ways to stop bamboo rhizomes from spreading. Most of them will require genuine effort. Planning before planting bamboo is the most effective way to control bamboo.

In this article, you’ll discover the 5 effective and cost-efficient ways to stop the running bamboo plants from spreading. Hope it helps.

Planning before planting bamboo

This may sound too much. However, it requires a bit of forethought about how far the bamboo will grow. The bamboo plants have the average area they are likely to cover at maturity. Here is an example of the features of the Black Bamboo Nigra. It will give you an idea about the bamboo you are planting.

When it comes to growing running bamboo, prevention is better than cure. So, the long-term maintenance plans and suggestions below will help you to grow and enjoy bamboo screens and hedges.

Inheriting bamboo plants – what to do

The argument for having a maintenance plan prior to growing bamboo does not hold strong if you inherited bamboo.
In fact, it can be frustrating given the amount of work you need to do to remove bamboo or stop it from spreading. It can also be a costly exercise.

But, there are quick hacks for keeping the bamboo plants under control. It takes only a couple of hours per year.

You will need the tools for maintaining the bamboo plants.

5 cost-effective ways to stop bamboo from spreading

1. Use a bamboo root barrier when planting bamboo

bamboo roots rhizomes barriers UK

Using a rubber root barrier is a common method for stopping bamboo rhizomes from spreading. It is also the most flexible way to grow bamboo plants because you can grow them in any direction.

The bamboo root barriers are great when growing bamboo along the boundary, near built areas and anywhere near the house.

Always put in a root barrier prior to planting the running bamboo. It will lessen the maintenance work as the bamboo grows.

This article has more information on bamboo root barriers and how to use them.

2. Grow bamboo in heavy-duty pots

best soil for growing bamboo in pots and garden

The easiest method to stop bamboo from spreading is to plant it in a pot. The roots are pot-bound and will not spread. They are great pot plants for patios, balconies and any outdoor spaces. Most of them can be used as natural privacy screens or windbreaks.

The heady-duty rubber pots are best as they are strong. If you need more information on selecting pots for planting bamboo plants, check out this article.

3. Grow bamboo in a raised bed

running bamboo plants UK

This is a less common way of containing bamboo plants, but it can be pretty effective when done right. You can build an elevated raised bed from any material, yet brick raised beds are best.

Understandably, the bamboo rhizomes do not grow deep into the soil. A raised bed of about 50 cm is ideal for spotting any shoots that are creeping out the allotted space.

The elevated beds are a nice way to grow bamboo as a centrepiece or as an individual plant.

4. Dig a trench around the perimeter of an existing bamboo

Bamboo open narrow trench barrier

Making a trench is a cost-effective method, especially when you have an overgrown plant. However, it will require close supervision, especially in spring when the shoot and rhizome growths are prominent.

You will have to physically check for new growths and cut them off. It is a simple yet effective way to stop bamboo from spreading.

All you have to do is dig about a 30 cm perimeter around the plant as the bamboo roots, unlike plants, do not have a tap root that grows deep. The rhizomes are at the top layer of the soil and easy to spot as they grow over the trench.

Maintain the trench once or twice a year, ideally at the beginning of spring and at the end of summer.

5. Use patio slabs, metal sheets or heavy-duty rubber materials as rhizome barriers

Alternatives to rubber root barriers are patio slabs, heavy-duty plastics or metal sheets. They work pretty good alternatives to the root barriers that you often have around the house or in the garden.

Simply dig a trench 30 – 50 cm deep and lay them along with it. We’ve done that here (YouTube video – watch and subscribe). It works perfectly.

Where to buy bamboo root barriers?

You can use any of the methods for containing bamboo plants and stopping them from invading the garden or the neighbour’s side.

Always use a bamboo root barrier when growing the running bamboo plants.

Here are some UK shops where you can get the bamboo root barrier: B&Q and YouGarden.

Benefits of growing bamboo plants

Bamboo plants are problematic because they tend to spread. However, there are two types of bamboo plants – running bamboo and clumping bamboo plants.

The running bamboo spreads and that is why growers should use root barriers when growing it.

Yet both types of bamboo plants have many benefits. They are also resilient plants that they can grow in shade or on tough soil. They are evergreen which means you will enjoy the natural greenery all year round.

The two most common features of bamboo are that its fast-growing and also long-lasting. They come in all sizes, shapes, colours and heights. Fit for any purpose.

So, if you want a quick screen to cover any unsightly features in the garden, bamboo is the go-to plant.

Stop bamboo from spreading

Regardless of whether you’ve inherited bamboo or want to grow a new plant, these 5 ways of building bamboo barriers will help you.

Always build bamboo rhizome barriers when growing the running bamboo plants.

Check out the complete bamboo care and maintenance guides on GardenBambooPlants.com

You’ll need these hand tools when working with bamboo.

Hand tools/Uses


Sales and offers (Available Now)

Wrecking bar: Provides leverage for removing tough rhizomes, roots or blocks.

DIY Hand Tools at B&Q online

Pickaxe: Dismantles rhizomes and clumps.

B&Q Offers

Handsaw/Loppers: Cuts culms to propagate.

Gardening Tool Offers

Sharp garden spade: Digs/cuts small rhizomes and roots, clears dirt.

Pedigree spade is ideal for narrow spaces.


Garden rake/hoe: Clears soil and dirt around the work area.

Specials and Offers

Pair of secateurs/garden loppers: Cuts large rhizomes and culms.

Check out the latest offers Loppers and Secateurs

1 thought on “How to stop bamboo from spreading?”

  1. Great article, I agree that putting root barriers in place before growing the running bamboo is the best thing to do. I inherited the black bamboo and though it is a medium-sized bamboo, it was hard worked removing it because there was no barrier put in place prior to planting it.

    I used the cuttings to re-grow them in planter pots – they are looking great now.

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