Discouraging grass and encouraging bamboo

Remember last year when I planted several running bamboos in the "hell strip" (aka "parkway" or "parking strip") in front of my house?


Phase two of this project has recently occurred -- the plan to have these bamboos fill the entire space is taking shape!

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The bamboo rhizomes are spreading -- although our hot, dry summer hasn't done much to make this ground easy for a rhizome to move through. It's hard and dry enough even when we get enough rain due to the tree roots in the area, but this year it's verging on concrete -- as I learned when I dug out the soil for the walkway extension.

Here's a reminder of what this looks like now:


And here's a look at the main tool in discouraging the turf grass in the area:


It's cardboard! It just so happened that my neighbor had lots of cardboard sheets on hand from a recent wood flooring project.


Good thing too, as I needed lots of it to cover the grass between the plantings in preparation for...


...the manure!

This is the stuff that will not only weigh down the cardboard and kill the grass underneath, but will also give the bamboo a nice boost of nutrients. In addition it will add lots of organic matter to the soil, loosening the top few inches of it -- which is where I want the bamboo rhizomes to stay anyway.


I didn't have quite enough manure as I used some of it for another project, so there's a little cardboard still exposed:


It will get covered eventually though.

I'm really going to be interested to see how much each of these plants has spread when they start shooting next fall. I expect some of them to fill their given areas much more quickly than others, but right now I just don't know how far they've already gone.

I expect it to start looking pretty nice next year though -- even though it smelled not a bit nice for a couple of days after spreading the manure!


Note that I didn't take a final "after" photo yet as I had intended to get more manure the next day, but something came up and I didn't get around to it. Sometime this fall though. Hope the cardboard doesn't break down by then -- there's more exposed than I show here.

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Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (September 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM)  

This is a great idea. I've used multiple layers of newspaper before but never cardboard. It should do an even better job because it takes longer to break down.

What type of manure was it?

Alan  – (September 19, 2013 at 6:17 AM)  

Not sure what type of manure, and the bamboo doesn't care. It wasn't quite as aged as I would have liked, but again, the bamboo doesn't really care.

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