How to Kill Bamboo in the Yard

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Bamboo resembles a tree, yet it is a member of the grass family.
Bamboo resembles a tree, yet it is a member of the grass family. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Although bamboo resembles a tree, the plant is actually a member of the grass family. Bamboo spreads along underground runners and rhizomes that grow from the roots. There are two varieties of bamboo with different spreading habits. They are clumping and running bamboo. Clumping bamboo spreads very slowly, while running bamboo spreads quickly. Although most invasive bamboo is the running variety, the clumping variety may also become invasive.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Lawn mower
  • Systemic herbicide spray

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Dig up bamboo rhizomes and roots using a shovel and rake. Try to remove as much of the bamboo roots as you can. Bamboo can grow back from any roots that you miss. Bamboo rhizomes are typically less than 1 foot deep in the soil.

Mow down bamboo shoots as they reappear. Repeat on a weekly basis. Bamboo will die after two to three years of weekly mowing.

Treat new bamboo shoots with a systemic herbicide containing glyphosate. Bamboo shoots pull the herbicide down to the rhizomes and kills them. Wait for the bamboo shoots to produce leaves. Spray the leaves with the herbicide until they are coated. Reapply the herbicide as needed. The plant will turn brown and the leaves will become brittle when bamboo is dead.

References

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