What Herbicides Will Kill Bamboo?

Only certain types of herbicides effectively kill bamboo.
Only certain types of herbicides effectively kill bamboo. (Image: Bamboo image by AzamSa'ad from Fotolia.com)

Invasive bamboo species are varied and challenging to eradicate from your home landscape due to their development of rhizomes beneath the soil. The rhizomes form into expansive networks that are responsible for storing energy, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Employing the use of herbicides that will kill bamboo is an essential factor for successful control as the plant's complex structure makes removal more challenging than a simple mowing or hand removal.

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Glyphosate is an effective herbicide that kills bamboo. Referred to as a non-selective herbicide, glyphosate kills all plant life with which it comes into contact. Practicing extreme caution during application is key to avoiding the death of desired plants. To kill bamboo, first cut the stalks down to ground level. Though glyphosate is effective any time of the year, the University of Maryland Extension suggests applying this herbicide in October at a rate of 2 percent. Apply to established foliage and repeat the application after two weeks.


Apply imazapyr to bamboo leaves as a 1 percent concentration solution using the same method as glyphosate. This herbicide is more effective in killing bamboo when compared to glyphosate but it poses a greater threat to desired plants, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Imazapyr exhibits soil activity that glyphosate does not and will spread through roots to other plants, destroying even large specimens like hardwood trees. Select imazapyr only when the bamboo is not surrounded by prized plants.


Dalapon is a foliar herbicide that is absorbed through leaves and transported to roots like glyphosate. Irrigate soil before use to prevent the spread of this herbicide to nearby desired plants but wait to apply more water to soil for a period of approximately 10 days. Spray dalapon onto developing bamboo leaves until they are saturated and allow to dry for six hours. Reapplication is necessary until the root system dies, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.


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