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How to Kill Invasive Bamboo

Updated February 21, 2017

Bamboo is a favourite ornamental plant that, if not properly controlled, can quickly get out of hand and become highly invasive. Some varieties are very difficult, but not impossible, to kill. Many species of bamboo propagate via runners. People inexperienced with bamboo often plant bamboo without barriers. This allows the runners to expand far outside the intended cultivation area. If you are trying to control the spread of bamboo while keeping the original planting, dig down deeply alongside the area you want to keep, and install a minimum 40 mil. plastic barrier. Once installed, you can proceed to kill the invasive areas.

Cut off the bamboo canes as close to the ground as possible. This will deny the bamboo energy and nutrients from the leaves. You can cut softer bamboo with a pair of pruning shears. Harder bamboo may require a saw.

Dig out the obvious root areas. Dig deep to get all of the rhizome to prevent re-growth.

Follow any runners, and dig them out. Many types of bamboo create large networks of rhizomes, so you may need to dig out a large area.

Watch the bamboo for re-growth. Aggressively cut new growth, and dig out the rhizomes. For certain types of bamboo, this process can take two or more growing seasons.

Consider sodding over areas where you have removed bamboo. This will ensure that you are mowing any stray areas of re-growth. In particularly aggressive areas of re-growth, dig up the sod, and remove any newly rooted areas of bamboo or rhizomes.

Tip

Some varieties of bamboo can take years to kill. Be patient; with time you can be successful.

Warning

Do not pause in your efforts to kill the bamboo. Long pauses in the process can allow the invasive bamboo to re-establish itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears or saw
  • Shovel
  • Sod
  • Lawn mower
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About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.