It’s interesting how badly you can hate a particular invasive species and yet still acknowledge its utility. Such is the case with bamboo. Bamboo can be categorized as clumping or running. The clumping bamboos don’t spread as widely, but they aren’t very cold-tolerant and often can’t survive our winters. The running bamboos are another story and are quite invasive. Under no circumstance should anyone plant running bamboo, but if they can’t be convinced to avoid it, it’s vital to enclose the grove with a trench and at least two feet of physical barrier material to prevent the horizontal spread by the rhizomes.
I encountered a grove of running bamboo in the county back in the winter, on public land. The grove was planted by the previous landowner, and the new managers were more than happy to get help bringing it under control. Conspiring with some of our volunteers, we decided that it could make perfect trellising material for our Grow Appalachia participants.
Myself along with five Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists visited the spot in late March armed with pruning saws, machetes and a large utility trailer and started cutting. We ended up with hundreds of stems that our growers will be using for bean teepees, tomato stakes and garden fences.
Although we barely made a dent in the grove, the property managers assured us that we can return and get more anytime we want.