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  • Writer's pictureSean

2 Ways To Kill Bamboo Plants At The Orchard (Non-Labor Intensive)

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Initially I had about 5 bamboo clumps on the land. During the land clearing and terracing work I had decided to leave behind only 1 bamboo clump. This clump was left behind so that I could use it as a building or farm material when there is a need in the future. The other bamboo clumps were taken down, dug and removed by the excavator driver when land clearing was conducted.

As time went by, portions of the original clumps grew new shoots and started to establish itself again on the land. These new clumps must be taken down due to the following reasons:

  1. It poses a competition with the durian trees in regards to water and soil nutrients availability.

  2. Tall mature bamboo plants will shade the durian trees thus reducing sunlight penetration to the durian trees.

  3. The orchard looks aesthetically less pleasing and will give visitors an opinion that the orchard is not well-kept and has poor house keeping practice.

  4. It poses safety issues whereby snakes and other poisonous critters often times make their nests on bamboo clumps.

These bamboo clumps that I have on the land are not your normal ornamental bamboo plants. It is the tropical jungle or forest bamboo, large in diameter and with clumps having diameters of 4-5 meters for mature plants.

After almost 2 years since I started developing the farm, these newly established bamboo clumps was to be eradicated before the really get out of hand.

I will not discuss on eradicating the bamboo plants by digging the rhizomes or by mowing it frequently since it's too much labor to do this for a big mature jungle bamboo plant or even for a 2 year old plant. Mowing the plant is out of the question as well since we are talking about rugged orchard or semi-jungle land now and not a house compound or backyard.

Cutting and digging the rhizomes is out of the question as well since one must basically chainsaw cut the hard wood rhizomes.

Specific Herbicide for Bamboo

The first way is using herbicide specifically made for eradicating bamboo which can be bought at most agriculture supply stores or at the district farmers organization office. It's basically sodium chloride.

The instruction on the label is to mix 1kg (1 packet) of the herbicide to 2 liter of water and application is by spraying. The greenish coloration of the water in the below solution mix photo is because of the algae.

Bamboo herbicide mixture
Mixing a packet of bamboo herbicide

I'm improvising the application method by just pouring the solution volume onto the base of the bamboo clump. Reason being it's much safer pouring or soaking than to spray since there will be no suspended mist of the herbicide which I could inhale. The herbicide will effect the base of the clump first when the roots feed.

Pour the herbicide at the base of the bamboo clump

Prior to pouring the solution, ensure that there are no fruit tree saplings or other planted trees nearby. If the bamboo clump is at a slope (as in my cases), ensure that there is no fruit tree saplings down the slope. The herbicide may trickle down or gets absorbed by the soil down slope and may kill the fruit trees.

Make sure to soak the base of the clump as much as possible with the herbicide mixture. The herbicide applied bamboo plant will die slowly but after almost 2 weeks it will look like this.

The next common practice to do is to burn the dead bamboo, once the fire is lit it would take minutes for the whole clump the turn to ashes. If left as is, bamboo takes some time to decompose.

Coconut Husk or Scourge

Another way is by using coconut husk which is sprinkled thickly to the base of the bamboo clump. This method of application requires significant amount of husk and the most easiest way to get it is to find it in wet markets or grocery shops which sells fresh coconut milk.

Coconut husk put on bamboo clump base

During the writing of this blog, I have just dumped the coconut husk to another bamboo clump to test this theory which was told by the village folks. The larger the amount of husk the better.

Bamboo plant base applied with coconut husk
Another bamboo clump applied with husk

The effects can be seen after 5 or 7 days after the coconut husk is applied provided there is rainfall. I'm not sure why coconut husk has a poisonous affect to bamboo plants but I believe it has something to do with the residual coconut oil in husk.

It must be noted that the presence of any wild boar population in the surrounding area may attract these mammals to my land due to the smell of the coconut husk. I will give updates on my findings using this method when I come back to the orchard on my next visit.

Why I Don't Do Manual Digging To Eradicate Bamboo Plants

There is a couple of reasons for this and the first reason is it's not ergonomically doable to do so. What I mean by this is that all of the regenerating bamboo plants are located on the slopes of my terraces.

In order for me to stand next to the clump and to work on it with a shovel or a hoe, I need to stand on the slope with unstable footing. This poses a risk to my self in which I could slip and fall over.

The second reason is that the clumps are large and hard. I need to break the clumps into smaller portions before I can dig and remove it otherwise the clump would not even budge.

In order for me to break the clumps into smaller portions, a hack saw or a chainsaw need to be use. Again, I'm standing on an awkward footing to be able to operate a motorized equipment in a safe manner.

The third reason is even if I managed to break the clumps into smaller portions, there is a risk that not all of the rhizomes will be dug up and removed. The remaining rhizomes although small, is still viable, could regrow again and will start to spread.

Bamboo clump

Bamboo clumps remain viable even if it doesn't produce a lot of shoots. Normally it will start to show vigor and putting on a lot of new shoots when the rainy season starts.

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