How do I Kill Bamboo?

Anna T.

Several methods of killing bamboo include starving the plant, digging it up, cutting it down, or using herbicides. Some of these methods are more effective than others, with starving being perhaps the most successful. Starving bamboo prevents it from getting any nutrients or sunlight.


One way to do this is by digging a trench 30 inches (76 cm) deep all around the area with bamboo growth. After the trench has been built and filled with concrete or gravel, cover the area around the bamboo completely with a tarp or something similar. The barrier created with the trench should prevent the rhizomes from spreading roots underground, and the cover over the soil helps kill bamboo by keeping the contained roots from receiving sunlight. If you want to contain bamboo rather than kill it, the aforementioned method minus covering the ground with a tarp generally works.

Bamboo stalks.
Bamboo stalks.

Digging is another method that may kill bamboo, although this process is usually not successful the first time. It is often necessary to repeat multiple times before all the bamboo roots and rhizomes are completely eliminated from the ground. Saturating the area with water before pulling bamboo shoots up is usually recommended, because pulling from moist soil may make it easier to get the entire root and rhizome system out of the ground. Using a shovel to dig around the base of the bamboo should help to loosen it enough to start tugging. Pulling the bamboo slowly out of the ground often produces better results than vigorously yanking it up, because quick movements could result in more rhizomes left behind.

Trying to get rid of bamboo with use of herbicides is often unsuccessful, but this is usually because the herbicides are sprayed on rather than painted on. Spraying herbicide will kill shoots, but not bamboo roots. If you want to kill bamboo with herbicides, you should cut the bamboo down to a height of six inches (15 cm) and brush it with herbicide right away before the sap has a chance to retreat into the rhizome. Doing this should kill the roots, but it still may take a few tries before all the bamboo is eliminated. Herbicides containing glyphosate are typically most effective for killing bamboo.

It is also possible to kill bamboo by repeatedly cutting it down. This process might take an exhausting number of tries, but it should eventually work. Mowing or shears can be used for this method. After each cutting, it is important to water the area generously to encourage new shoots. When the shoots appear, they should be promptly mowed down. Over time, the energy supply of the rhizomes will be exhausted and they most likely will not be able to produce more shoots.

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