Lay a rhizome barrier for bamboo and runners-forming plants

Rhizome barrier for bamboo ornamental grasses-root barrier-house-garden-lawn area

Many plants form runners that spread in the ground and without adequate precautions can even conquer the garden of the neighbors. Bamboo plants, some ornamental grasses, raspberries and blackberries are among the plants that grow rapidly and need timely measures. One Rhizome barrier for bamboo and other runners-forming plants limit the growth of the rhizomes to a certain area. In the article we inform you about the necessity and advantages of the rhizome barrier, give helpful tips for laying and present a few good ideas for garden design.

What is a rhizome barrier for bamboo and overgrown plants?

Rhizome barrier for bamboo pe-hd-foil-wood chips-green-leaves-garden

The rhizome barrier is a hardened plastic sheet made of high density polyethylene, still known as PE-HD or HDPE. It is commonly used when planting large species of bamboo and is sometimes called a bamboo barrier. The rhizome barrier is bought in the form of a roll with different widths, which is installed in a certain way.

Why should you lay a rhizome barrier for bamboo??

Rhizome barrier for bamboo bushes-garden fence-garden design

The bamboos are beautiful plants that are often used as privacy screens in the garden. Since their underground runners or rhizomes spread very quickly, it is essential to lay a rhizome barrier in the ground. Such a measure is of central importance for larger bamboo species, such as those from the genus Phyllostachys. Many garden owners underestimate the power of their rhizomes and face significant damage over time. Laying a bamboo barrier is essential in front of buildings, ponds or paved areas such as terraces. Without timely action, the strong rhizomes can even lift paving stones and pavement slabs.

Install bamboo barrier

Rhizome barrier for bamboo small-diameter-deep-inserted

To keep the bamboo in check, you should first buy a rhizome barrier and find out exactly how to lay it. The density of the plastic film should be at least 2 millimeters thick in order to be able to withstand the roots of the bamboo plant. In the best case scenario, you should leave the work to a professional. However, if you want to install the rhizome barrier for bamboo yourself, then we will summarize the main steps for you.

Installation instructions for the rhizome barrier for bamboo

Install rhizome barrier for bamboo-assembly-instructions-material-steps

In order to determine the exact border of the rhizome barrier, you should inform yourself about the size of the fully grown bamboo. It usually depends on the type of plant. When you have determined the location, a trench about two to three feet deep should be dug. Cut the special plastic wrap to fit the trench. Then drill holes for screwing the clamping rail in the sealing membrane, place the bamboo barrier in the trench and unscrew the clamping rail. Finally, plant the bamboo in a soil rich in humus and decorate the edge of the area as desired. Allow 5 to 10 inches of the bamboo rhizome barrier protrude above the ground to notice rhizomes attempting to exit the barrier.

Material for the rhizome barrier


The right rhizome barrier for bamboo is made exclusively from PE-HD foil and should not be confused with pond liners, root barriers or root protection foils. Although these variants are an appropriate decision for many runners-forming plants, they are not suitable for the rhizomes of the bamboo and can easily be broken through by them.

Retrofit a rhizome barrier for bamboo and woody trees that form runners


Did you plant your bamboo out of ignorance without the required rhizome barrier? Or have you moved into a house with already planted bamboos and runners? In this case, you can take some subsequent measures and add the rhizome barrier for bamboo and others. First get the HDPE plastic film and create a ditch at least 60cm deep not too narrow around the grown plant. Then find the rhizomes and cut or, if possible, dig them up so that only those remain inside the trench. Finally, the rhizome barrier is used for bamboo or overgrown plants and fastened with the clamping rail. Do not forget to constantly monitor the bamboo plants and remove any rhizomes that have spread above the ground and outside the barrier.

Alternatives to a rhizome barrier


As an alternative to rhizome barriers, root barriers or root protection foils can be used, but only if it is a medium-sized bamboo or ornamental grass. Another variation would be to use a mortar bucket with the bottom cut out and put it in a trench. This idea will keep most of the bushes in check, but it will be too small for trees and some bamboo plants.

Overgrown plants that need a root barrier

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Some trees and bushes provide examples of plants that grow rapidly and grow underground. Some of them are raspberries, sea buckthorns, the beautiful vinegar tree, mint and some ornamental grasses. In most cases, thinner protective films instead of a rhizome barrier help, as the roots of these plants are not as strong as the rhizomes of the bamboo.