Bamboos are very popular plants with many gardeners, frequently used in urban gardens to provide evergreen screening for privacy or simply as elegant lush background planting displays. Once established, bamboos are very resilient plants and often the only routine but essential maintenance is watering during prolonged dry spells but more often controlling the often problematic and invasive spreading roots which tend to accelerate as the plants mature.
But as more gardeners discover, controlling bamboo rhizomes (underground stems) spread is often tedious, onerous and very difficult to control. Despite being a shallow rooted plant, controlling the roots of clumping plants, can be difficult and if left unchecked the consequences can quickly deteriorate, causing havoc and disruption in surrounding planted borders, lawn areas, and even causing paving slabs in patios, pathways and driveway surfaces to become loose and/or break.
In such situations immediate attention is essential and in severe cases the choice is simply complete removal of the plant or to restrict future growth by installing a physical barrier. Removing young plants is relatively easy but when the plants are 5m tall and well established removal or installing a physical barrier is never easy.
In this landscaping project, our task was to devise a viable long-term solution to control mature bamboo in a garden in Rathmines. Our clients required an effective and permanent solution to restrict/prevent any future wayward root and cane growth of the very mature 5m tall bamboo planting which they wanted to retain. Despite regular efforts to cut and remove the bamboo’s spreading roots and emerging canes, the client’s had reached a stage where the level of effort required to control the bamboo plants was becoming unmanageable and unsustainable. This in turn was leading to fears of the inevitable consequences of the encroaching bamboo to the trampoline area, making it unsafe to use because of the risk of accidental injury by previously cut bamboo roots or canes.
Our task had two objectives, firstly to install a physical barrier to control any future growth of the existing mature bamboo screening and to plant the bamboo in a purpose built robust raised planting bed which would allow the existing bamboo plant screening to continue to thrive.
Our efforts would be made more challenging and difficult because there was no access for mechanical digging equipment which also meant that all excavation, extraction, construction, material handling, waste removal from works area could all only be done by manual labour.
As the famous saying suggests, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ and certainly this project would certainly test our effort, commitment and performance to complete the task in a competent and responsible manner.
The proposed methodology for Phase I: