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How to Kill Bamboo in Your Yard

Updated on November 12, 2014
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Unfortunately there’s not one best way for how to kill bamboo in your yard. It will take perseverance and commitment to battle unwanted bamboo, as it can take years to fully kill all the bamboo in your yard. The creeping types of bamboo, and the most invasive, reproduce by sending rhizomes underground to grow new bamboo shoots. If not planted in a container that traps those rhizomes, then bamboo can quickly become an invasive weed taking over the entire yard as well as your neighbor’s.

Start with Natural Organic Methods to Get Rid of Bamboo in Your Yard

Start by physically cutting down and removing the bamboo. Cut it down to the ground first, and then dig out as much of the roots and rhizomes (the horizontal spreading roots you will find) as possible. Then treat the new shoots that will emerge as grass by mowing regularly year round. Eventually the bamboo will die off, but be warned: this method can take years.

Bamboo rhizomes are particularly difficult to kill.
Bamboo rhizomes are particularly difficult to kill. | Source

Use Herbicides

If you are committed to organic gardening, then you can choose to not use herbicides on your bamboo. If you choose the organic route, just know that getting rid of the bamboo will become part of your normal gardening chores for the foreseeable future.

If you want to speed up the process, then there are some particular herbicides that are best for killing bamboo. Also, herbicides work best if you have cut down and dug up the bamboo as much as you can. Don’t expect to spray your overgrown bamboo with herbicides without cutting it to the ground and have it be very effective.

In the summer use herbicides with glyphosate to spray directly onto the leaves of the new shoots. Roundup, Kleenup 41% Concentrate, and some other common herbicides contain glyphosate as the main active ingredient. Glyphosate however will only kill the plant above the ground. You will still need to treat the rhizomes below the ground.

For the rhizomes, you will need to an herbicide that contains diclobenil, such as Barrier or Casoron products. This needs to be applied throughout the winter while the plant is more dormant.

Adding the herbicides to your plan of attack on the bamboo can speed up the process of getting rid of the bamboo to just two years reports Dr. Joseph C. Neal of the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University.

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Warnings on Using Herbicides to Kill Bamboo

The herbicides used will also kill other plants that come in contact with it. This means you will not be able to plant new plants in the area the bamboo was for several years, until you have eradicated the unwanted bamboo. If the bamboo has taken over an area of the yard with other plants you want saved, then you can use a selective grass weed killer which will better target the bamboo and not the surrounding plants. However, these are not the best way to get rid of bamboo as they just don’t work as well. And of course always read the instructions and follow all safety guidelines when using herbicides.

What worked to get rid of bamboo in your yard?

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