View Full Version : Cheap bamboo rhizome barriers

26th April 2005, 10:11 AM
Anyone know of a cheap rhizome barrier? Got a pretty wide space to cover and can't afford $2 a foot for the real thing.

26th April 2005, 10:17 AM
If you have a local quarry nearby, call them and ask if they have any old conveyor belts they have or are throwing away. Our local one gives them away and they are perfect - last forever and NOTHING gets through them. They come in all widths and lengths.
I do not know what current prices are for corrugated fibreglass roofing panels, or steel ones for that matter, but they used to be less than 2 per foot - pop rivet them together - also, can sometime find used stuff for free, but need to fill in the nail holes with screws or similar - lot of work...

Mark Meckes
26th April 2005, 10:23 AM
What a neat way to recycle an industrial product Gardens2C!!

Here's another thread about bamboo rhizome barrier sources:
Best mail order/internet for bamboo barrier? (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=963)


5th May 2005, 12:46 PM
I use old billboard vinyls. I get them for free. I dig a trench 24" deep and quadruple the vinyl. I have never had any bamboos get through the barriers. Occasionally a stray rhizome will attempt to climb over it and I just clip them off.

Keith of Ronin
30th July 2005, 09:26 AM
i used concrete and the tops of green houses, they are 10 foot by 2', and you can get them clear too

30th July 2005, 06:57 PM
How deep do you have to bury them?

Mark Meckes
30th July 2005, 07:23 PM
I heard everything from 18" /45cm to 3 ft / 90+cm
It has to do with ...
- type of bamboo = some are small, some giants

- climate = affects vigour and growth of the bamboo

- Soil type = sandy - deeper barrier ; rocky - less depth required

- having the barrier at a slight angle outwards = reduces `pressure buildup', especially for confined plantings, then some rhizomes, when they reach the barrier, will turn upward instead of continually girdling the containment.


12th November 2005, 09:21 PM
Has anybody tried just an empty trench? According to bamboo.org, you only need to dig 8-10" and check for rhizomes in the fall.
Seems like this could help prevent the pressure buildup that Mark mentions.

Mark Meckes
13th November 2005, 02:52 AM
I think it would depend on the slope of the trench sides, depth of the trench, the type of soil that the bamboo is growing in, and species of running bamboo.
For example Semiarundinaria species, have rhizomes that grow deeper than Phyllostachys species.
If the trench drained away rainfall from the grove the dry trench sides would constrain it's spread, though the moisture at the bottom of the trench may attract a rhizomes' attention.

Bamboo grows faster and further up a hill then down a hill.
Bamboo roots that grow off of rhizomes can grow quite deep, as shown in this pic of our Phyllostachys aurea growing on top of a cliff edge ...
http://www.bamboocraft.net/bamboo/data/503/thumbs/1P_aurea2erosion.jpg See photo (http://www.bamboocraft.net/bamboo/showphoto.php?photo=809)
But roots don't produce rhizomes.

As can be see in this cliff pic, rhizomes aren't leaping off the top and growing down the cliff...
http://www.bamboocraft.net/bamboo/data/503/thumbs/1P_aurea1erosion.jpg See photo (http://www.bamboocraft.net/bamboo/showphoto.php?photo=808)

Though some rhizomes growing sideways out from the top of the cliff edge may curve downhill for a little ways. Most then turn upwards toward the sunlight and become a tillering rhizome shoot.

Judging from our cliff face, I'm certain a 6ft trench will contain a running bamboo.

... just kidding around, because I have no idea what the minimum depth of the trench would need to be to contain the bamboo ...

Mark ;)

24th September 2006, 10:16 PM
I live in zone 5, and just planted previously potted "incense bamboo". I need them to grow at least 20 feet, and also have to find an affordable way to prevent spreading.

Mark Meckes
3rd October 2006, 03:48 PM
Hi lcweber69,
I use the cheapest method by root pruning annually with a straight edge spade at edges where I do not wish the bamboo to proceed further. :)


29th April 2007, 10:26 PM
how would polyester printing plate material hold up. i can get as much as i need plus some. it's coated in silver though, would that have an effect on the plants?

the poly is 8 mil and i have sheets up to 50in, average is 25.

29th April 2007, 10:39 PM
8 mill sounds very thin - and would it not be cheaper to recycle the silver ta 14. per ounce and buy heavy duty stuff or pay for concrete? The ditch digging we find is the most expensive part of it. And how would you join the sheets together? But 8 mill polyester, unless silver is thick...... phew. No idea on silver and its impact, but should not be very toxic. RECYCLE!!
We have seen 30 mil plastic popped like you cannot believe - and have settled on concrete. metal roofing material and perhaps fibreglass would work equally well if a good joint could be made - some of the metal roofing is warranted for 20 plus years above ground, and with an extra coat of tar should last 30 or more years (we have some over 30 years old, heavy galvanize, that is intact - but as a barrier, again, how to join together so as not to let rhizomes get through joints......

29th April 2007, 11:04 PM
8 mill sounds very thin

i was planning on layering them. the joining part is kind of a problem though. i was thinking of some kind of epoxy possibly.

and would it not be cheaper to recycle the silver ta 14. per ounce

the removal of the silver requires a chemical, the plate developer. the plate and film developers can be outfitted with a silver filter, but from what i've heard the amount of silver is so little that it'll take years just to make it worth installing.

i was planning on doing all the work myself... i know this will be a long project, esp digging a 100 foot trench by hand! my wife's father owns a concrete refinishing business, he'd gladly help but i'd rather save my favors for something important.

17th May 2007, 09:29 AM
You might want to try making a few calls to swimming pool contractors. Frequently, people replace the vinyl swimming pool liners of inground vinyl pools. This is good thick stuff but it's invariably a gaudy blue color. Still, you are going to bury all but a few inches and a spray bomb of satin black paint will take care of the top few inches that show. This should cost you nothing and my guess is it's close to the longevity of the polyethylene barrier. You also might be lucky enough to find someone replacing an EDPM pond liner- but those things seem to last forever and are fairly repairable so I'm guessing you've got a better chance with the swimming pool liner. A concrete (Gunite) pool contractor may be able to let you cut up a scrap liner as well because a fair number of concrete pools were originally vinyl and the customer decided to go for concrete as an "upgrade".

I like the conveyor belt idea too. I would never have thought of that!

19th July 2009, 12:46 AM
So is there a minimum thickness that the conveyor belt should be? I can get this belting at work as we have many conveyors which will be getting new belts in a couple months.

14th August 2009, 07:04 PM
how about pond liners? i found a 5ft. wide by 30 ft. roll at pondliners.com for $66.00. it's 45 mil thick. that's about $0.45/ square foot!

14th August 2009, 07:32 PM
yea - pond liners should work ok as a bamboo barrier

10th November 2009, 10:09 AM
I just ordered some off Ebay- $1.50/foot plus shipping fee of $9. Looks like it is now $1.79/ft.

compared to the local nursury price of $2.50-3.00/foot, I thought it was a bargin.

And when I opened the box, there was more than the 70' that I had ordered....Yes!

sasa fool
10th November 2009, 04:03 PM
Phyllostachys species will go right through the pond liner, I am aware of many failures where folks ponds have started leaking and a little investigation showed many rhizome punctures. I installed my own .45 mil pond liner for a frog pond this summer and having worked with it I am certain that is will not prevent rhizome escapes.

10th November 2009, 05:20 PM
I've been told that 30 - 60 mil plastic would work - you mean that I need to just say 60 mil?

sasa fool
10th November 2009, 05:59 PM
The pond liners are a much softer material than commercial rhizome barriers, therefore the thickness is not very useful. Think bicycle intertube .45 mil thick texture versus credit card .45 mil thick texture - it is the softness of the pond liners that make them very easily punctured. Especially when considering how patient bamboo rhizomes are - those pointy tips slowly applying pressure as they do will easily run through pond liners.
the pond liners.

10th November 2009, 06:52 PM
thanks Brad for a good comparison

11th November 2009, 07:29 AM
Ditto on the differences between the material used for pond liner and "true" bamboo barrier..Thickness is not the problem, just the softness..at least I hope so- or all of my 40mil surrounds will have to be rethought.

On a rhizome note. Mythbusters (the TV show) did an episode about bamboo. The question was: Would grow up and through a human body...? Well, on the first attempt it did not- experiment set up wrong, but on the second try, it did! My partner taped it and gave me the synopsis- so I'm not sure of the type of bamboo used. I'll watch and get back to you'all.