How to Kill Bamboo Shoots

Written by david montoya
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How to Kill Bamboo Shoots
The bamboo's root system runs horizontally, making it difficult to remove. (bamboo image by Alice Becet from

Bamboo is a plant that can be utilized for a number of functions. Gardeners often use bamboo as a barrier between properties. Bamboo's ability to grow quickly (some varieties can grow over 4 feet a day) and spread in a thick, dense manner make it perfect for this job. On the other hand, these characteristics also make bamboo a difficult pest to take care of when it starts growing out of control. With a deep root system and generally hearty nature, a gardener must be vigilant and act quickly to kill bamboo.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Saw
  • Herbicide
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Wet the soil around the bamboo and spray herbicide directly at the base of the bamboo. Wet soil will help the herbicide move down to the root system.

  2. 2

    Cut each stalk of bamboo at the base with a saw. Immediately apply herbicide to each of the stubs left over. Bamboo has a thick sap that will cover the opening and protect the shoot from herbicides. You have roughly 15 seconds before the herbicide will be rendered useless. Use this method for every single stalk.

  3. 3

    Return to the bamboo after a week. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 if any new shoots have begun to sprout.

Tips and warnings

  • Killing bamboo is going to take patience. More than likely, the bamboo will begin to sprout after the first time you apply herbicide. Start this process knowing that you may have to return two to three times before the bamboo is completely killed.
  • Boiling water may be used instead of herbicides if you are concerned about the chemical's effects on the surrounding vegetation. A strong herbicide will still yield the best results.

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