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I have discovered that my new home has a bamboo infestation. I’m not sure that is the correct term, but I’m going to go with it. The previous owners seemed to have used the bamboo as a way to screen the backyard from the neighbors.

At first I didn’t know what it was. There was just a line of bushes that screened off a bit of the backyard. It wasn’t until we began cleaning the yard that it really became clear what we were dealing with. It’s only bamboo, right? Pull it up and plant some grass… done.

At least that’s what I convinced myself of. The reality turned out to be something much darker.

Now that spring is in the air and everything is green and alive, the bamboo has spread and now controls about 20% of my half-acre. I have been mowing every weekend since we moved in and am becoming frustrated and a little worried. This stuff is growing faster than I thought possible and seems to be spreading at an increasing rate. I’m not sure what to do.

I did some quick Google research and found a few home remedies such as mowing, digging and white vinegar. I am rather curious about pickled bamboo. For now, I have begun to dig up the clumped roots but everything seems to be connected into some vast labyrinth of living network. I’m seeing a scifi movie in my backyard.

The most drastic solution involves RoundUp weed killer and I am extremely reluctant to go there.

Does anyone know how to defeat the Bamboo Beast? Or does anyone know where I can rent a panda?

My wife, Sheri, thinks a nice yard is relaxing and gives her a place to find contentment. I agree with her, it is relaxing. But having a yard project completed is even more relaxing. In my case I stripped out yard down to dirt and rock and started over. Now we have grass growing, paths completed, flowers planted and replanted, and even a birdbath.

I feel complete and peaceful now. My landlord will also be thrilled. Yes…that is what I said. I spent months of weekend labor and >$1000 on a yard that is not mine. All for the sake of my wife’s sanity and contentment. She has been forced to work from home for two months, while I’ve continued going to my essential industry job every day. I haven’t had any ‘lockdown’ days. So when I get home she is ready to get out or climb the walls. She needed something to spend her pent up energy on and she chose the yard.

I want to make clear that she does NOT have a green thumb, by any means. She likes flowers, and pretty plants, and even vegetable gardens, but she has little skill or luck with them. When we go to our local garden center the ferns and hibiscuses shake and shiver as she approaches. She is the ‘widow-maker’ of ferns. She loves them and waters them and moves them into the sun and out of the sun and talks to them and then they still die. So every spring out trip to the garden center for a new troop of plants is much like a prisoner selection for the gulag. It is a short one way trip. Always.

I’ve joked with her about just planting silk or plastic flowers. Which just makes her laugh. Apparently her grandmother actually did that and even water them. For years, my wife thought they were real. So, I believe that her lack of plant skills is hereditary.

I dislike yard work in any form, so am willing to support her yearly death march to keep her happy. I absolutely do enjoy a good yard and beautiful flowers, so if I have to continue to be the undertaker and bury the corpses of each years batch of volunteers, I will do that. In fact, I will bury whatever I need to to keep the Goddess happy. Mostly because I’m afraid of what other projects or interests she would find to spend her energy on. I have no desire to start square-dancing, or bowling league or stockcar racing or competitive tatooing. I am a simple man that wants a complete yard with as little of my own labor as possible. 

This year has turned into kind of a bust in the no-labor plan, but I do have a nice yard now and a very happy wife. So, overall, mission accomplished.