How to Kill Bamboo So it Will Not Regenerate Itself


Bamboo is a tall grass with an invasive disposition and a perennial lifespan. One plant with a healthy rhizome is enough to produce ever-spreading thickets of bamboo shoots that, in some species, grow 70 feet tall. The original rhizome, an underground horizontal stem, also continues to expand below the surface, increasing the supply of energy stored for the bamboo. Killing the rhizome is the only way to permanently get rid of the plant. The process takes several years.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Lawnmower
  • Glyphosate, 5 percent solution
  • Machete
  • Dig up young, small bamboo plants, removing as much of the root system as you can see. With luck, the plant won't return. But even the smallest piece of rhizome left behind starts a new plant. Monitor the site regularly and remove new sprouts. This process might take several seasons.

  • Mow small bamboo plants consistently with a lawnmower to the lowest height possible. The energy the rhizome expends to send up new shoots weakens, and eventually the plants will die. This control method takes two to three years to completely eliminate bamboo from the site.

  • Chop established bamboo plants down to the ground with a machete. Allow them to regrow to a height of 3 feet. Spray the bamboo leaves with an herbicide containing glyphosate at a 5 percent solution. Inspect the area regularly. The plant you sprayed will die, but it is probable that the rhizome will send out a new shoot. Treat the young plant when it grows 3 feet tall and it has unfurled leaves to absorb the chemical. Bamboo eradication with glyphosate takes two to three years.

Tips & Warnings

  • The label on the herbicide that contains glyphosate at a 5 percent solution says "formulated at a 41% concentration." (See References 1, "Herbicides")

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