How to Remove and Get Rid of Bamboo

Written by kelly lynn
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How to Remove and Get Rid of Bamboo
Removing bamboo requires persistence. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Bamboo is an invasive, aggressive and woody grass, making it the enemy of many gardeners. Some species of bamboo have been known to grow more than 47 inches in 24 hours and can grow to maximum height in one growing season -- typically three to four months. Bamboo thrives in many climates, from tropical regions to places where temperatures reach minus 20. Eliminating bamboo takes time and patience, but it is possible with just a few tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pruning shears or handsaw
  • Garden spade
  • Ax
  • Systemic herbicide
  • Paintbrush
  • Helper

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    Dig Up Roots

  1. 1

    Cut the bamboo stems down close to ground level with shears or a saw. Discard the stems.

  2. 2

    Dig out the root system by excavating around the outer edges of the bamboo plant with a garden spade. Dig as deeply as possible. Break up the root system with the spade or an axe as you dig.

  3. 3

    Remove any remaining plant material by digging it up and discarding it. Inspect the hole you dug to make sure all the bamboo rhizomes have been removed.

    Stop New Shoots

  1. 1

    Trim the stems of any new bamboo shoots that emerge where you have removed the plants. Cut the shoots down to about 6 inches tall with pruning shears or a handsaw.

  2. 2

    Apply systemic herbicide on each stem with a paintbrush within 15 seconds of cutting it. The timing is important because after a stem is cut, the bamboo plant withdraws the sap and will take the herbicide with it. It is easiest to have a friend help you with this task to get the herbicide painted on quickly. Apply the strongest dose of herbicide allowed by the product label.

  3. 3

    Monitor the bamboo's regrowth. Destroy any more new shoots with the same method. Consistently stopping the bamboo's regrowth will exhaust the bamboo of energy, which will kill the bamboo.

Tips and warnings

  • The length of time needed to kill the bamboo depends on factors such as species and climate, but it can take as long as three years for bamboo to die completely.
  • If you do not wish to continually use herbicide, you can pour boiling water on new bamboo shoots to kill them.
  • If bamboo continues to spread from a neighbouring property, insert a concrete barrier into the ground to block the spread. The barrier should go down at least 2 feet into the ground and rise 6 inches above the soil surface.

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