Dear Sun Spots: Lance Armstrong wore a T-shirt with the U.S. Postal Service logo on it. Does that mean that they sponsored him? If so, how come? – Adams, Auburn.

Answer: According to several sources, the U.S. Postal Service will cease sponsoring the six-time Tour de France winner and his team at the end of the 2004 season. The Postal Service, which has sponsored the team for eight years in an effort to increase business overseas, has decided to go “in another direction” with its advertising, spokesman Gerry McKiernan told The Associated Press in an April 23 interview.

Dear Sun Spots: I’ve written to you many times in the past and I’ve always had good luck. I hope you can help me again.

I would like to donate a microwave that works well and is in very good condition. However, it’s an older model. No one seems to want them. Is there someone or some place that would take it? Please call me at (207) 782-8314. Thank you. – No Name, Lewiston.

Dear Sun Spots: I am looking for information on how to get rid of bamboo permanently. Your help is appreciated. – S.C., Turner.

Answer: Two column readers offered the following advice in 2003:

Reader Mary Nile of Rangeley says she had a patch of bamboo. Before the patch got too large she started treating it. She had a syringe – such as you use to baste meat or chicken – and cut the large stalks down to about 15 inches from the ground. She bought Roundup, filled the syringe with it and injected every adult stalk. This method killed the stalks and most of the roots. It took about two years to kill all of it. Niles says that the more you dig and pull, it will only make it worse.

Also, Marilyn Burgess of Leeds recommended installing a barrier after removing all the roots on your garden’s side. Dig down 2 to 3 feet along the fence. Install a metal barrier of old roofing or similar material in a vertical position with the top at ground level. Backfill. You will probably still need to remove the few sprouts remaining on a regular basis. Burgess gets good control by mowing and removing the sprouts that come up in flower beds. This is a plant that never should be introduced intentionally. Barriers or old metal tubs are also good for restraining rambunctious plants like mint.

You may also have success in eliminating bamboo by using the herbicide glyphosate, which is available in several concentrations under the trade name, Roundup. The bamboo should be treated in June or later, after flowering, when plants are fully grown. Thoroughly wet foliage. Growth ceases and plants discolor, but they do not brown out. Do not cut plant down for at least two weeks after treatment. Spot spray any regrowth the same or following season. Roundup is available at most garden supply and department stores.

Additionally, according to, the best way to eradicate bamboo is to dig out the entire root and rhizome mass, trying to get as much out as possible, including fragments. To make the job easier, water the area deeply a few days before digging. Start on the outside of the clump or grove and work your way inward. The roots generally do not grow deeper than 6 to 12 inches, and you usually can chop them up and pull them out piece by piece. In order to remove large chunks at one time, you may be able to dig deeply around the circumference of a chunk, tie a strong rope or chain around it, and pull it out with a truck.

It is likely that you will miss a few root fragments here and there, and over the next few seasons you may see an occasional shoot coming up. Simply snap it off by hand when it is small and tender, and keep doing this until the remaining roots have run out of energy and have perished.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at in the Advice section under Opinion on the left hand corner of your computer screen.

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