Help! Bamboo!

15 Replies

I recently purchased a property where the back yard is full of bamboo plants (shoots?). They are sprouting up as far as 20 feet from a bamboo patch at the rear of the property. I talked to the neighbor, and he said he cuts the back section of his yard twice a week during the growing season, or the bamboo gets too thick for his mower. If I don't keep it under control, it will take over the yard.

Some of the canes are about 4 inches in diameter, and probably 20-30 feet tall. I'd really love to eliminate the bamboo patch permanently.

Anyone have experience controlling/eliminating bamboo?

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I had the same thing at one of our places. The stalks had been cut and "poisoned" but I don't know what with. However the roots still remained. I would advise cutting them and digging up all the roots you can or they will just come back. Good news is I don't think they grow very deep as much as wide like any other grass. However like a tree they are very tough and sharp so renting a bobcat or something would be Money well spent . Good luck 😉

I have bamboo at my property. Previous owners had a nice small patch when we bought. And that thing grew like crazy. I am still fighting with it. We cut all the canes (larger ones) and during the growing season I remove them (twist) with my hands, and my husband mows once a week. This year, there is much less coming than the previous years.

From what I read, the only way to eradicate them is to have them manually removed. As your neighbor also has it and is not removing it, you have to put a barrier between your property and his. The barrier i think they say its suppose to be 18" or deeper, to prevent the roots from coming to your side.

Even when you remove the bamboo manually, there is a very high chance that not all the roots will be removed, so you will have to be vigilant and then remove those offshoots in order to eliminate it. But do not remove them manually and not have any barriers as they will come from the neighbor again.

Thanks @Bryan Williamson and @Magdalena Gasior

I had a talk with my neighbor on the other side.  A nice 70 something lady.  She said her husband planted that bamboo decades ago.  He maintained it in a nice little patch, but when he died, it got out of hand, and now is in all 3 of our yards.  both neighbors would love to get rid of the bamboo for good.  Sounds like we will all need to have it removed at the same time, and then stay vigilant about removing new shoots.

I'll see if they are interested in pooling money to get a bobcat in here to tear the roots out after we cut down the stalks.

I haven't had to use it on bamboo,  but I've had good luck with Tordon RTU where roundup and other weed killers have failed me. 

Cut the plant, put the chemical on the frash cut stump and it kills it down to the roots. 

According to the Internet if the roots are tangled with nearby plants or trees, then those could get harmed too. 

From my understanding, you will need to cut ALL the canes down. And if you can keep them cut down the plant will die.


There's a bonsai place near me that has bamboo surrounding it. While talking to the owner of this establishment we asked him about the bamboo.

He went into deep scientific discussion about how bamboo works. It's essentially rigid kudzu. The roots from ONE stalk can sprout thousands more over the course of less than a year. It does grow out in a network as has been stated here. The absolute only way to get rid of it is to dig up the entire network of roots. This man has acres covered in it. He actually sells it. Some guy in Florida paid him over $40K to bring down a specific looking Bamboo he had on the lot. After digging it up, loading it into a tractor trailer and trucking it down to Florida it still survived the trip and took over the gentleman's land.

The barrier idea may work but l believe the depth minimum is 18". It's nearly impossible to kill. he's burned the entire lot before and within weeks he had more coming back than before the burn. It will destroy concrete. It will strangle other trees nutrient sources from the soil. I wish you luck but getting rid of it is not going to be cheap or easy.

@Linda Weygant

That's funny.  I actually went on the Atlanta Zoo website, because they will come out and cut Bamboo for the Panda's.  Their website said due to the overwhelming generosity of it's patrons,  they are no longer accepting new donations for bamboo.  

Apparently there are lot's of folks that would be happy for someone to come take their bamboo

I used to work on a crew that removed bamboo from state parks in FL. We would cut it towards the ground and spray the stubs with an herbicide, but I don't remember what it was called. It seemed to work permanently in the areas we cut. The thing I remember the most is how it's almost like fiberglass and is very irritating and painful to the skin. We wore heavy gloves and long sleeves when handling it. I'm not sure if all species have that trait  but it's something to watch out for.

Yes, you need a....

Or perhaps the grown up version will work better...

Either way, you gotta clear out the roots or it will keep coming back with a vengeance! 

@Rick Baggenstoss may have some ideas other than renting a Bobcat, as I think he owns a small bamboo forrest too!

One person's virulent weed is another's gardening challenge.

We had a neighbour who nursed along a bamboo hedge for years, fortunately this cold hardy strain of bamboo only grew about 4' in height and had to be covered each winter (along with the rhododendrons) ... apparently it was only cold hardy to about -15, so anything that crawled out of the patch during the summer was killed off by the -30 to -40 nights in the winter.

I just dealt or an dealing with about 3/4 of an acre .  First we came in with a bobcat mounted bush hog and cut 90% of it down . Then we pushed all the debris to the back of the property to rot .  Now I had all the bamboo stumps .  So I had 160 cubic yards of tree chips brought in and spread them with a tractor .  Prior to this I put down 500 lbs of sulfer . It acidifies the soil as do the wood chips .  Now it does come back a bit , but a lawn mower can be run over it . Its managable .  

Digging out all the roots is a expensive process , regrading and hauling in new soil nobody wants the dirt so pay at the landfill .  

Thanks @Rick Baggenstoss !

My background is in landscape contracting and I may be able to help @Tim Lindstrom . Bamboo can be a problem, but it can also be a beautiful addition to the landscape and a very effective screen. Eradication is a lengthy process and expensive project requiring a bobcat, labor and several hours of hard work, if you want it done right away. However, it will come back if you're not thorough, like @Todd Whiddon said.

Cutting it back and keeping it in check is less expensive, but you'll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it stays where you want it to stay. Tim, I'd be happy to look at it for you if you're in the Atlanta area. It sounds like you have a timber type bamboo if it's up to 4" in  diameter. You can cut the poles and build some scaffolding for your next project! :-)

I can write more on this topic later if everyone wants to know some ideas and tips for control and how to get rid of it. It's Saturday and I have to get the kids somewhere...

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