Bamboozled: The Truth About Having Bamboo In Your Yard

yellow bamboo groove

Bamboo, the spontaneous guest that pops up unannounced! So, is having this green visitor around a blessing or a curse? We are here to help answer that question! In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of growing bamboo in your yard.

Bamboo is a fast-growing and versatile plant used for centuries in various applications, from construction to food to medicine. Recently, it has become increasingly popular as a landscaping option for its aesthetic appeal and eco-friendliness. However, while there are many benefits to having bamboo in your yard, there are also some downsides to consider. 

Where Does The Random Bamboo In Your Yard Come From? 

The random bamboo in your yard may result from birds or animals carrying bamboo seeds or rhizomes from neighboring areas. Alternatively, a previous homeowner may have planted or sprouted the bamboo from a discarded piece of bamboo that landed in your yard. Bamboo is known for its rapid growth and ability to spread, so appearing in unexpected places is not uncommon. Regardless of its origin, bamboo can add a unique and natural element to your yard if properly maintained.

Benefits of Having Bamboo In Your Yard

Aesthetically Pleasing 

With its tall, slender stalks and lush green leaves, bamboo can create a serene and peaceful atmosphere. It’s a great way to add a touch of nature to your outdoor space and create a calming environment that you can enjoy year-round.

Privacy & Shade

The tall stalks of bamboo can be used as a natural barrier to block out unwanted views, noise, and foot traffic. Additionally, bamboo can offer shade from the sun, making it an excellent choice for areas of your yard that receive a lot of direct sunlight.

Harvest It!

Bamboo can be used for practical purposes beyond aesthetic appeal and privacy. It’s a strong and sturdy plant that can be used to build structures, such as fences or garden trellises, crafts, and furniture-making. Additionally, bamboo can create barriers around gardens or other outdoor spaces, helping to keep unwanted pests or animals out.


It’s Invasive

One of the biggest concerns with bamboo is its invasive nature. Some species, heavenly bamboo, yellow groove bamboo & golden bamboo, can spread quickly and aggressively, which can cause problems for neighboring plants and structures. Bamboo roots can grow deep and wide, making them difficult to control and remove if it becomes unwanted.

Tough To Control

Another downside of bamboo is that it can be challenging to control and may require regular maintenance to keep it under control. If left unchecked, bamboo can quickly take over your yard and become a nuisance. This can be especially true if you live in a wet or humid climate, where bamboo thrives.

Marylanders, please note on May 8, 2023, a bill was put in place regarding the Control of Running Bamboo. 

According to the Department of Legislative Services:

This bill authorizes the governing body of a county or municipality to regulate (through an ordinance) invasive bamboo, including prohibiting a person from: (1) selling invasive bamboo; (2) planting invasive bamboo; and (3) allowing invasive bamboo to grow on the property of the person without proper upkeep and appropriate containment measures, including barriers or trenches. The bill also authorizes the governing body of a county or municipality to provide for the enforcement of an ordinance adopted under the bill by requiring any damages caused by invasive bamboo to be mitigated and establishing a civil fine.

Pest Attracter

Some bamboo species can attract pests or diseases, harming other plants in your yard. If you are considering planting bamboo, it’s important to research the specific species you are interested in and ensure it is safe from these issues.

Maintenance Tips

Controlling Spread

Bamboo spreads through underground rhizomes and can grow several feet daily (yes, you read that right – feet…per…day!!!), so it’s important to contain it with a barrier. Install a barrier made of thick plastic or metal at least 2 feet deep around the bamboo planting area to prevent it from spreading to unwanted areas. Regularly check the barrier for any gaps or breaks and repair them immediately.

Proper Pruning

Bamboo must be pruned regularly to promote healthy growth and prevent it from becoming too dense. Use sharp pruning shears or a saw to remove dead or damaged canes. Cut back any new shoots growing too close together or in unwanted areas. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.

Watering and Fertilizing

Bamboo needs plenty of water to grow, especially during the first few years. Water deeply once a week during dry spells. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every spring to promote healthy growth.

Pest and Disease Prevention

Watch out for pests like bamboo mites and mealybugs, which can cause yellowing leaves and stunted growth. Use insecticidal soap to control them. Keep an eye out for diseases like root rot and leaf spot, which can be caused by overwatering or poor drainage. Remove any infected canes and improve drainage if necessary.

After weighing the pros and cons, we recommend that individuals research and consult with professionals before planting bamboo in their yards (especially since it is invasive). This will ensure that they fully understand the implications and can make informed decisions based on their situation.

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