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Bamboos will not grow into water or under a well-traveled road. A pond a creek will stop them. They grow into a woods very slowly. Here in New England we have outcroppings of stone they can't cross.
Or, you might want to establish a large grove and let them roam at will. If you can use the natural features of your site no further maintenance is needed. But who of us is so fortunate? Lacking natural landscape features some other control is required.The fact is whatever control method you choose some maintenance is necessary.
You can mow the new growth every spring. When they first come up they are fragile and brittle, easily cut. This requires that you establish a mowing strip about twenty feet wide around your bamboo. A narrow strip will not work. Those rhizomes (the underground stems by which they spread) will extend beyond a narrow strip and come up in the most unexpected places. If you choose the mower method you will see that they come up every spring - but they'll stay within the boundary you set.
Another popular technique is to put a physical barrier in the ground. You will have to use a material that is strong and will not deteriorate and that goes down about 36". High density polyethylene or high density polypropylene 40-60 mil. is commonly use. A vinyl carpet runner from Home Depot won't work. The rhizomes will penetrate it. Install the barrier so that the top is tilted away from the bamboo and be certain that 3-4 inches of the barrier is above ground. If it is not above ground the rhizomes can go hop over it. Not a pretty sight and difficult to install. I know a nursery that swears by the barrier material they sell - and this is the third material they swear by!
The method I favor requires that you dig a ditch 12" deep and about 4" wide, wide enough to get a tool in where you want to establish the boundary for the bamboo. The purpose of the ditch is to find the rhizomes as they grow out from the grove. In order for the bamboo to spread the rhizome will have to cross the ditch. When you find one crossing the ditch cut it and if it has crossed completely pull up the rhizome on the far side of the ditch. This is an effective containment method. It works if you do it each year. The rhizomes grow in the late summer and early fall. So attend to this maintenance late each growing season. It is not necessary to keep an open ditch - you can fill it with mulch and find the rhizomes by running a stick through the ditch.
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